Anna Hull

Angela Kasparek, Melanie Guerra and Julie Johnson are among the five Rider teachers retiring this year. The others are Paul Loskot and Steve Ward.

Five longtime Raiders retire

Five staff members leave Rider

May 17, 2023

With this school year coming to a close, five Rider staff members have announced their plans to retire. With more than 115 years of combined experience, these staff members have made great contributions to the school through their work. 

Tuesday, May 9, a party was held to honor the retirees. 

Julie Johnson 

Julie Johnson has spent the past 17 years at Rider as the College and Career counselor. 

Prior to working here, she worked at Carrigan when it served as the Career Education Center, Wichita Falls High School, Irving Nimitz High School and Bowie High School, teaching home economics.

When asked her favorite part of her job, Johnson said, “Getting to know the students and seeing kids succeed and go on to do things after high school. We’ve had so many kids go on to do great things.”

Her job varies daily and her tasks range from helping juniors talk about college, preparing seniors for college and assisting with dual credit and testing.

While Johnson will miss the students and her co-workers, she is looking forward  to prioritizing family in retirement. 

“My grandkids will get a lot of my time and I will eventually look for something to do,” Johnson said.  “I love to cook and bake and that sort of stuff.”

Melanie Guerra 

Melanie Guerra, a graduate of Rider, has had a life-long passion for being an educator. 

“I really enjoyed school when I was young,” Guerra said. “In fact, I often played school with friends.”

In college, after volunteering at schools she discovered her passion for special education. 

“I saw kids who really struggled, but I also saw how much individualized attention and instruction helped them,” Guerra said. 

Guerra then decided to pursue special education further, teaching and then eventually becoming a paraprofessional. 

“As a para, I work in Kim Myers’ special ed functional skills class,” Guerra said. “Usually working one-on-one with a student, I help them achieve their academic goals and learn specific job skills. It is a rewarding job, especially when I run into a former student who is out working in the community as a successful and happy citizen.”

After spending the past 17 years at Rider, and the past 35 as an educator in the district, Guerra is excited to have more leisure time in her future. 

“I look forward to sleeping later, walking my dog and reading,” Guerra said. “So many books, so little time, but now I’ll have all that time.”

Paul Loskot

Paul Loskot has been teaching at Rider for the past 22 years, and spent eight years before that working for WFISD repairing audio/visual equipment. 

“It’s been great,” Loskot said. “This is the best school in the district, I really think so. It’s sad that it’s going away.”

The best part of his job has been the people he’s worked with over the years, especially the students. 

“Getting to know and meet so many interesting people and hopefully helping ‘dad’ them,” Loskot said. “I’ve done a lot of that over the years trying to help kids see maybe a straighter path than the one that they’re trying to choose on their own.”

After retirement, Loskot is looking forward to working on projects he hasn’t had time for before. 

“A bucket list thing for me is to build a car from the frame up,” Loskot said. “I’ll have much more time to work on that and hopefully get it done.”

Angela Kasparek

Angela Kasparek, a graduate of Wichita Falls High School, has been with Rider the past 26 years, working behind the scenes to ensure the technological needs of staff and students are met. 

“I feel very blessed to be a part of Rider,” Kasparek said. “I have met lots of great staff and students. I will truly miss everyone.”

Kasparek, who runs the audio/visual room at Rider, holds a lot of responsibility. Her job consists of keeping inventory of all equipment and technology at the school, assisting students and parents with chromebooks and fines, making phone calls and helping with laminating needs. 

“I am the first point of contact for teachers and students for their technology needs,” Kasparek said. 

As a self-proclaimed “people person,” Kasparek has enjoyed the opportunities this job has given her to meet new people, and cater to the needs of others. 

“I love inventory, working on technology and helping others,” Kasparek said.

Kasparek’s efforts are greatly appreciated and this school year, she was named an honorary Ms. Raider. 

After retirement, she is most looking forward to spending time with family. 

Steve Ward

Steve Ward, who has also worked at Rider for the past 26 years and is a graduate of Wichita Falls High School, has had many different jobs over the years coaching everything from football, soccer and cross country plus teaching P.E., English I, English III, and PACE. 

“Coaching wasn’t my first choice, but I figured out quickly that I wasn’t smart enough to be an architect,” Ward said. “So I decided that I had always played sports my whole life, so why not do something that I knew I would enjoy as a career? It worked out very well for me.” 

Coaching did in fact work out well for Ward as he was an assistant on both of Rider’s soccer state title teams. 

The thing he will miss most about Rider is the friendships he’s made. 

“You can’t replace the friendships,” Ward said. 

Ward, who had to take a disability retirement eariler in the year, hasn’t had much time to process his retirement yet, but he will miss Rider. 

“I spent half of my life working at Rider,” Ward said. “I made a lot of good friends, and I met my wonderful wife Rana while working at Rider, so overall I’d say it was a good 26 years.”

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