When Cindy Hillger graduated from Hamline University, she had a degree in psychology, but she was certified to teach elementary school.
“I wanted to be an elementary school counselor, but back then money was tight, and they were not putting money into things like that,” she said.
So, she started her role in education that would include molding the minds of elementary-aged students for more than 35 years – most of them at Reede Gray.
Hillger began her education career in Melrose where she taught first grade for two years.
In 1979 she moved to Redwood Falls and started teaching third graders. Over the years she has taught various age groups, and during the past several years she has focused her role in teaching math.
Growing up in Fairmont, Hillger grew up with exposure to education, as her dad was a school principal.
“I have always loved working with kids,” said Hillger. “I have enjoyed working in education, because you never know what each day is going to bring when you walk into the classroom.”
Education has constantly changed, said Hillger, adding some of those changes, including the use of technology have been good.
Hillger said she enjoyed teaching first grade, because she knew in that role she was helping get students on the right foot for the rest of their education.
A good experience early on can impact the rest of their lives, said Hillger, who added she fondly recalls having parties and celebrating Christmas around the world with students.
Hillger said she is going to miss the day to day contact with people.
She hopes to spend more time with her family as she retires and wants to do more traveling, reading and enjoying the slow pace of life.