Vandersloot followed her parents’ footsteps

Claudia VAnderslootby marlys good

Claudia Vandersloot is retiring after a 35-year teaching career that took her from Joliet, Mont., to Cody, and then to Greybull where she has spent the past 22 years. Take your pick: she served as resource room teacher, special education teacher, and for two years taught middle school reading and English.

Her favorite? “I love my reading and English,” she laughed.

Claudia was born into a family of teachers so teaching was a was a natural choice for her. “Both my parents were teachers; I thought teaching was the coolest job. And I loved school since I was in the first grade. I wanted to be just like my Mom and Dad.” After 35 years Claudia looks back and says, “I have never regretted it.”

Perhaps her first regret, and that was short-lived, was when she moved to Greybull in 1993 after accepting a job at the Greybull Elementary School.

She was from Billings and her thought that first year in Greybull was, “I can’t live in a town this small, but I grew to love it.”

She and husband Pat have two children, daughter Vanessa who is working on her college degree at College of Helena, Mont., and son Nathan, who lives in Billings where he is working on his program to become an electrician. Both grew up in this “small town” and graduated from Greybull High School.

She has been blessed in her career, she said. “I have worked with outstanding people, and there are wonderful children in this community; truly there are. I adore the kids. They are what keeps me young and life energized. Middle school kids are the most fascinating people.” She laughs as she adds, “My own kids? It’s much easier to teach them than to raise them.”

She’ll miss the children and her co-workers, but she is not going to miss the “unnecessary paperwork we’re required to do. Enough is enough,” she said. “And I’m ‘meeting-ed out.’ I have had it with them. I’m tired of being attentive at meetings,” she said, a smile in her voice; “I’m just being honest; we have lots and lots of meetings. I admit the computer world is going faster than I am. I told my kids that I might have to quit teaching to relearn how to use today’s technology. That (advanced technology) made my decision to retire easier. It is too far advanced for me. It’s crazy.”

Claudia’s husband is retiring Friday, so the two will be walking into the sunset together. Retirement plans? “We’re not going to get in a big hurry to do anything. We want to discover health and fitness; we’re going to travel. Two weeks in Alaska this summer is on our bucket list, and we want to visit and reconnect with family, friends, cousins we haven’t seen for a while.”