Mary Landry has a deep history with the Baldwin-Woodville School District.
She was in second grade with Greenfield Elementary opened.
“We pulled wagons with our school supplies from the old school to Greenfield,” she explained. “Today, the kids would have to ride a bus!”
When in high school, the 1979 B-W graduate, helped tutor kids at Greenfield.
“That experience set me on my path to becoming a teacher,” she said.
Landry never imagined B-W would be where she would earn a teaching job after graduating from Macalester College in 1983, but the following year she was a long-term substitute at Greenfield. She got another long-term substitute position at Viking Middle School in 1986 and in her words “that’s when I knew that middle school was a great fit for me.”
Landry has called Viking home for the last 32 years with the 2019-2020 year being her last. Those years have consisted of teaching special education, fifth grade and the last four being sixth grade Math.
“When I started at Viking, most of the teachers were my former teachers,” she explained. “When I retired, two of the teachers at Viking were my former students.
“…I feel so grateful to have been part of this school district for most of my life.”
Landry has been married to Tom since 1988 and have called his family farm in Erin Prairie ever since. They are the parents of three, Ben, who lives in Bozeman, Montana; Martha, who lives in Denver, Col., and Emma, a 2020 graduate of UW-Madison, currently living at home.
Landry’s family is well connected to the history of Baldwin.
Two of her brothers, Tom and Peter, were former owners of the Baldwin Bulletin, while another brother, Bill, takes care of her parents (still living). The only sibling to leave the area was her twin brother, Jack, who also retired this year from teaching in Gallup, New Mexico.
Landry also reflected on life in schools from the past to present
“I would make hand-written worksheets on ditto paper, and then run them off on the ditto machine,” she said. “There were no computers in the school…We taught cursive handwriting. Concepts that were being taught in eighth grade are now being taught in sixth grade. Students were taught letters and sounds in kindergarten. Now, they are reading.”
What hasn’t changed, she said, are the students themselves.
“From the beginning of my career to the end, the majority of students are positive, fun-loving, and hardworking and they value education,” she said. ‘My last group of sixth graders were a wonderful group of students, and I really am sad that my career ended the way it did. I really missed being with the students. It honestly has been a bittersweet ending.”
As for what’s next, Landry listed a multitude of outdoor activities — canoeing, camping, fishing, beekeeping, gardening and traveling.
“I know I will miss being back at school in September, but I also know that teaching takes a tremendous amount of energy and I will enjoy a slower pace of life,” she concluded. “I will most certainly miss the staff at Viking. They are an outstanding group of educators and always support each other to do their very best every day.”