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The Sentinel Sound

Larson to Retire after 30 Years in the District

Current+SHS+Attendance+Secretary+Kris+Tinsley+and+Sharon+Larson+embrace.
Austin Scheel
Current SHS Attendance Secretary Kris Tinsley and Sharon Larson embrace.

After over 30 years of working in the Steilacoom Historical School District, SHS office coordinator Sharon Larson is saying goodbye this year as she enters a well-earned, restful retirement. 

Larson started out volunteering in the district, following her kids through Cherrydale Primary, Saltar’s Point Elementary, Pioneer Middle and finally Steilacoom High. She called herself the “class mom.” 

“She truly is like the mother of this school,” said SHS registrar Jessica Rady, a good friend of Larson’s. Of all the jobs Larson had throughout the years, her favorite was when she was the SHS attendance secretary.

 “There was no hiding anything,” said her youngest son, Kasey Schiller, who graduated from SHS in 2006. He remembered skipping class and how, later in the day during dinner, his mother’s voice would come through on the message machine and announce his absences that day to the family while Larson herself stood there listening. “You would hear my mom’s voice say, ‘Your child missed XY&Z periods today at school,’ and my mom would say, ‘Kasey, are you kidding me?’” he said.

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Larson’s other son, Adam Schiller, 2003 SHS graduate, reflected on his time being a teacher’s aide for his mother while she was attendance secretary, calling the extra time spent with her “special.” “I believe most of my friends were one of her aides at some point during their high school career. She was well-liked by her friends, my friends and her colleagues who she befriended,” he said. 

Larson fondly recalled the Class of 2003’s senior prank, describing how Schiller led his peers in a grand scheme to fill now-retired SHS history teacher Gary Wusterbarth’s room with live crickets. “If you know anything about Mr. Wusterbarth, then you know that did not turn out well,” she said. Schiller refused to comment on his teenage plotting.

At the May 15 School Board meeting, SHS principal Jake Tyrrell told the story of how he first met Larson. Tyrrell had shown up an entire day early to his job interview for SHSD. He shared how kind and compassionate she was towards him in that moment. “She will be missed,” he said. “Our school isn’t going to be the same without her. There will be big shoes to fill.”

In retirement, Larson is looking forward to having more time to spend with her family and volunteering. She hopes to come back to SHS as a substitute secretary once in a while. She would advise the next office coordinator to, “Have a positive attitude, get to know your people and be as helpful and involved as possible.” What she’ll miss most about SHSD is all the people and friendships she’s developed over her years. She remarked that she hopes there will be no retirement party, because she knows she’ll cry. 

“I will dearly miss her, our interactions and her support,” said Rady. “I wish her the best in retirement and I hope she gets to spend all the time with her grandkids that she wants.”

To his mother, Kasey Schiller says, “You made it! The love and kindness you showed did not go unnoticed for the 30-plus years you worked at the school district. You showed up, you cared! You made a difference.” Adam Schiller added, “It’s pretty special to spend an entire career at one district. It says a lot about both the person she was and the district she was a part of. I know she will be missed just as much as she will miss being part of the SHS community.”

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About the Contributors
Noelle Reger
Noelle Reger, Editor-in-Chief
Hello lovers. I’m Noelle (she/her), and this is my second year on the Sentinel Sound staff, first year as Editor-in-Chief. I like writing news, but human interest stories are my favorite to write.
Austin Scheel
Austin Scheel, Photographer
I love longboarding. I love taking quality photos even more.
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