After a 25-year career, the woman who has been the public face of Clearview Elementary School in Clear Lake has decided to answer the call of the open road. Jan Thyen put in her last hours at the school on Friday morning, wrapping up her tenure in a job she has loved since she first took over as the office secretary in August of 1989.
“You could not ask for a better job,” she said Thursday, recalling the countless times students have gifted her with a hug or a song, and her close relationships with the teachers and administrators over the years.
Thyen had been a secretary at McKinley School in Waite Park before interviewing for the Clearview position. At that time, she said that she had always wanted to come to Clearview, which she described as more of a “country school” where the students in all grades did more things together than was the case in other St. Cloud schools. Her children also attended Clearview during her time there.
She was often the first person visitors to the school would encounter, signing guests in to the book and keeping up with a host of other tasks each day, including answering telephones, registering new students for school, keeping student records and selling lunch tickets.
Thyen has a long list of projects already planned, she said, and she has no doubt that her retirement will be an active one. She enjoyed having the summers off during her career, but there were always those things around the house that had to be postponed once school activities began each August. She has always loved gardening and yard work, she said, and she is looking forward to ample time for those activities. She will also spend one day each week babysitting for her daughter, and they plan to spend at least one day each week together visiting places like the Minnesota Zoo and the Science Museum of Minnesota, she said.
When her husband Rick retires in September, the couple plans to indulge in their other great loves, camping in state parks and taking spontaneous road trips whenever the spirit moves them. She also said that she doesn’t expect that she will really “feel” retired until that first fall camping trip.
A small gathering of friends and staff bid her farewell in St. Augusta recently. Thyen said she did not want a big party, since she “does not like to be the center of attention” if she can avoid it. But that is where she has been for the past 25 years, out front and in the center of it all at her beloved Clearview Elementary School.