McGuffey is not a building. It’s the people who love and live and care and teach and learn here. This time of year it’s surrounded by a golden ring of daffodils that celebrate the lives of the people we’ve loved and lost. The daffodils have been planted to honor and remind us of their love for and dedication to the school, students and staff of this very special place.

Rhonda Hutson was our kindergarten teacher. She brought an infectious laugh, an affinity for horses, and a deep respect for the authentic ways of Native Americans to McGuffey. We’re pretty sure that Rhonda’s favorite people were kindergartners and horses. They both have those big eyes, and she had the innate knowledge that, although they might seem quiet and compliant right at the moment, things could (and probably would) do a 180 in a heartbeat. She was a “horse whisperer” long before the term was invented, and she knew “kid whispering” too. She loved her husband Ron and her son Cameron fiercely and with all her heart and lived life with a hearty laugh. We miss her dearly.

Linda Sheppard taught art alongside Liz. She was warm, wise, and peaceful to her core. An artist, and a lover of great books and children’s literature, she filled many roles at McGuffey as a parent, a volunteer, and as a teacher. She had patience, kindness, intuition and a rock-steady belief in the basic goodness of people, particularly children, and quiet confidence in the goodness in us all. She urged every student to explore many artistic media and discover their unique abilities. A talented artist, she was sincerely interested in the work of children, in art and in other areas, including peace and justice. She was devoted to her family—her husband Jim, daughter Susanna, and son Zachary. They were the true center of her life. The memory of her peaceful soul, gentle smile and ready laughter will be with us forever.

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