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Media specialist has seen many children grow

Unlike some teaching positions, media specialists like Donna Winder don’t meet students one year and say goodbye to them at year-end. Winder sees students for as many as 12 years, and that is what she will miss the most when she retires.

“My position has always been a K-12 position, and meeting students as kindergartners, watching them grow and progress, and then seeing the mature students as they graduate ... It has given me faith in the future,” Winder said.

Having started at Pine River-Backus Schools in 2001, Winder hasn’t been with the school as long as some, but that hasn’t stopped her from building relationships with students and fellow faculty and staff.

Winder grew up on the south shore of Lake Superior, but she moved to Pine River in 1976. She got an art education degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wis., and taught art in Wisconsin. She later did her graduate work in library/media at St. Cloud State University. Before working with PR-B, Winder taught library/media in Laporte.

“Libraries have changed a lot in the past 20 years,” Winder said. “Back in the Dark Ages when I first entered the field, personal computers were non-existent. It’s been a fun ride to now.”

Winder will retire at the conclusion of this school year. Her plans include lots of relaxation.

“I’m afraid that the garden will be taking a back seat for then next few years as my husband and I will be traveling as often as we can,” she said. “Also, I’m not naturally a morning person, so if I never hear another alarm clock, that would be fine with me.”