Fritsch teacher retiring after 25 years with students |

Fritsch teacher retiring after 25 years with students

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Mary Kay Kinne talks with her first-grade class Friday morning at Fritsch Elementary School. Kinne will retire this month after 25 years of teaching.

The part with pirates and spaceships and robots coming to Earth. That part, Gabe Gabica said, is the best part in the book.

OK, Mary Kay Kinne said. But what happens after that? What about the feelings of the characters? And how does the book compare to the movie?

“Signal if you liked the book better than the movie,” said Kinne, who had just finished reading Chris Van Allsburg’s “Zarthura” to her students Friday morning.

They raised their hands, and she agreed.

“I usually like books better than movies.”

Kinne, who will retire this month after 25 years of teaching, said reading is why she likes her Fritsch Elementary School first-graders so much.

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They’re like monarch butterflies, she said.

“I use that as a symbol of my teaching. The way they come in and the way they leave is a metamorphosis. … They come in not knowing how to do much, and they leave real strong and with a full ability to read.”

Kinne said both boys and girls like fantasy books like “Zarthura.” Generally, though, girls prefer fiction and boys like nonfiction – especially if the nonfiction is about bugs or snakes.

Most of all, she said, the students just like to be read to. And she’ll miss that.

“They’ve taught me how important love is in their lives. Those kids that don’t have love, they struggle for attention. Some of them don’t get what they need at home, so they get it at school.”

She’s tried teaching other grades, but children this age are special to her.

“In first grade they’re really honest. They’re really honest and really pure. They say what’s on their minds.

Kinne said some students will come to school and say “my dad did whatever last night, and the other kids will go ‘ooo.’ They don’t have any sense of being ashamed.”

Her retirement will be the first long time away since she took a 10-year break to be with her children more than 30 years ago.

With her time now, Kinne said she wants to sew, travel and spend more time with her granddaughters.

It will be different, she said, because she’s spent so much time around people who have a difficult time seeing her as anything but a teacher.

“If they see me in the grocery store and I have on shorts and sandals they stare at me. They have trouble putting me in a place other than a classroom, because I’m a teacher and they can’t understand it.”

One of the places she wants to visit is Washington, D.C. She said she’s never been there before.


Teachers retiring from the Carson City School District after 15 or more years:

David Aalbers worked 1973-2007 at Fritsch Elementary School; Patricia Carpenter: 1972-2007 at Empire Elementary School; Joe Elliott: 1983-2007 at Prison Education Program; Carol Heinricy: 1978-2007 at Carson Middle School; Mary Kay Kinne: 1984-2007 at Fritsch Elementary School; Judith Manning: 1972-2007 at Seeliger Elementary School; Nancy Mielke: 1970-2007 at Carson Middle School; Sandra Morrison: 1991-2007 at Fritsch Elementary School; Jack Reinhardt: 1978-2007 Carson High School; Thomas Rippee: 1989-2006 at Carson Middle School; Lorie Schaefer: 1987-2007 at Seeliger Elementary School; Cheryl Stoddard: 1988-2006 at Carson High School; Jan Sullivan: 1989-2007 at Fremont Elementary School; Cathrine Timmons: 1979-2006 in the Administration Office; Carol Tullis: 1984-2007 at Eagle Valley Middle School; Dona Tuttle: 1978-2006 at Carson High School

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.