Longtime Duluth Teacher Retiring After 30 Year Career

Throughout her career Mrs. Ostazeski believes she's taught more than 1,000 students.

DULUTH, Minn. – Mary Ostazeski is known as Mrs.O and the kids love her.

“She’s creative and she loves all of us,” said Lester Park Elementary School Student Grace Lyytinen.

Mrs. O knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was in the fourth grade.

Here she is as a student.

“Then I started babysitting in my neighborhood, then I started teaching Sunday school, tutoring,” said Ostazeski.

And now this school year will be one she will never forget.

“I am really trying to savor every second,” said Ostazeski.

Lyytinen always wanted to be in Mrs. O’s class and this year she finally has her as a teacher.

“I feel glad and happy because she’s my favorite fourth grade teacher.”

For 14 years Mrs.O has taught at Lester Park Elementary in Duluth and after a 34 year career Mrs. O retires next June.

“One of the biggest things about teaching that I love is building that community and the relationships,” said Ostazeski. “I think that’s what Iwill miss the most about the profession is the colleagues that I’ve worked with, the families and the kids.”

The first day of school was bittersweet for Mrs. O going over first year procedures.

“It was really weird to think that I’m not going to do that again,” said Ostazeski.

In a career that’s spanned more than 30 years Mrs. O says the most rewarding part for her as an educator has been the kids and seeing their growth.

Lyttinen says she’s one of the lucky ones being in this last class.

“A lot of people like want her as a teacher and some kids who aren’t in fourth grade won’t get to be with her,” said Lyttinen.

Lester Park Principal Sue Lehna has worked with Mrs. O for six years and says she’ll be missed and is an inspiration.

“She is totally passionate about what she does and we can all learn something from that and here she is in her last year of teaching and she still comes in with the same zest,” said Lehna.

Mrs. O says it hasn’t hit her yet that this is her final year and it probably won’t until August when she stops having what she calls “teacher dreams.”

What’s kept her going after all these years is simple.

“I love kids and so that part has remained the same,” said Ostazeski.

Mrs. O is looking forward to spending time with family and what she says is “refirement” or getting fired up about something else.

“I’ll miss kids, but I’m going to be still in contact with kids in some way, shape or form for the rest of my life,” said Ostazeski.

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