Wendy Wallace has taught fourth grade for 35 years, most in the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District.
“Many people say they can’t wait to retire,” Wallace says. “But I’ve never been anxious to retire. I’m one of the lucky people who truly loves what I’ve been doing. I’ve loved being with the students and watching them grow and develop. I feel very fortunate and lucky to have had a job to go to every day that I love.”
Wallace grew up in Dallas Center and attended Dallas Center Community Schools, kindergarten through high school. She graduated in the last class before the consolidation of Dallas Center and Grimes in 1966. She attended Drake University where she earned her bachelor of science in education degree in 1971. Too late to get a teaching job, she went to work for Meredith Publishing Co. in the magazine department and did a little substitute teaching until she was hired by Dexfield School District in 1972.
During the three years she taught at Dexfield, she married her husband, Jim. She had met him when he attended Dallas Center High School during his senior year.
In 1975 Wallace took time off for the birth of her daughter, Shannon, and in 1978 she was hired by the Dallas Center-Grimes School District where she has taught fourth grade ever since.
Among her favorite memories are they moments when children “get it.”
“They show you that they understand, and it opens a new door for them,” she says. “I can honestly say I have loved every day of my teaching career.”
Probably one of the biggest challenges, Wallace says, “is keeping up with all the changes in education, not just the curriculum but other things like discipline. We have to take what we learned 20 years ago and adapt it to today. Teachers must constantly be alert to changes.
“My students have been a blessing to me,” Wallace says. “They are more than students; they are family, a part of me. I have really enjoyed that relationship.”
While Wallace has had no formal training in music, she has done choreography for musicals at DC-G. She went to Drake music camp three summers, and took dance lessons from the age of 4 to 12. Her great-grandmother taught her to play guitar, and her grandmother was an accomplished pianist.
Wallace is the fifth generation to live on her family’s farm, which was purchased in 1871. Her great-great-grandfather built the original farm home in 1900 as a wedding present for her great-great-grandmother. The original square house was added on to in 1955.
What are her plans for retirement?
“I’m looking forward to attending my granddaughter’s activities; she will be in seventh grade next year,” Wallace says. “And I love sports so I hope to attend some NCAA tournaments, maybe a Denver Bronco’s game. I have no really big plans, just to keep on doing the things I like to do.”