Chippewa honors 36-year retiring teacher
CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Chippewa Valley Schools’ administration and Board of Education took time out of its Jan. 28 meeting to honor Rae Mandel, a 36-year speech-language pathology teacher retiring at the end of the school year.
“I just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with so many of your children,” said Mandel. “I feel like they’re my children.”
Mandel worked 20 of her 36 years with Chippewa Valley and 16 years with Macomb Intermediate School District. She spent her career working with students struggling with articulation.
Don Brosky, principal of Cheyenne Elementary, worked nine years with Mandel and witnessed her ability to interact with students and her peers.
“Rae has touched the lives of countless children,” Brosky said. “She’s also been a respected leader at Cheyenne, taking on our Science Olympiad team and being instrumental in student study’s process and assisting us in our school improvement efforts.”
An emotional Laurie Capoferi, co-director of special services for the district, spoke to Mandel’s ability of making great lessons out of essentially nothing. In their first year of working together, they shared a room at Clinton Valley Elementary School. Mandel used old magazines to make a complete language and articulation lesson for a student. The pre-school student left the classroom and couldn’t stop telling her mother about the lesson she just received.
“There’s an art and science to speech pathology,” Capoferi said. “Rae epitomizes the science part of it. But then she steps over to the art side of it, where those are things you are just naturally gifted at. … She knows how to dig into the heart of the matter with a student.”
After 16 years at MISD, Mandel said she was hesitant to leave for Chippewa but found a home at the district.
Chippewa Valley Superintendent Ronald Roberts said she creates a fun yet professional environment within her classroom. “I can’t speak highly enough of her professionalism,” Roberts said. “It was obvious that she enjoyed what she did.”
Roberts said Mandel was fond of her family and often told stories of her three children and her husband.
“You were such an important part of Cheyenne, and I know you’ll be missed,” Roberts said.
Roberts presented Mandel with a framed Board of Education resolution announcing her retirement and a school bell.