By Julie Wiessner
It is rare to find anyone who has worked in education 39 years. But that is just what Marla Cassidy has done. She will retire at the end of this school year and be awarded the Exceptional Support Staff award on Friday, May 10, at the Mesa Convention Center.
Cassidy will be retiring on May 31, after more than 27 years of service to the Holbrook School District.
Cassidy received a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1974. This was followed by a Master’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1978.
These degrees began a lifetime of learning that allowed her to attend Northland Pioneer College, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, and University of Phoenix for additional endorsements in English as a Second Language, Special Education, and Early Childhood Special Education.
Cassidy began her career as a Speech and Language Pathologist for the Handicapped at McCook City Schools in McCook, Nebraska, in May 1974 before moving to Arizona in December 1979 when she began working at HUSD. While in Holbrook, Marla had various assignments. Through the years she taught English and language development at Holbrook High School (HHS), and Special Education at Hulet and Park elementary schools and HHS.
In 1992 she became the Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and Preschool Speech and Language Pathologist for the district. This position allowed her to work in district preschools located at Hulet and Indian Wells Elementary, and at Head Start locations in Holbrook, Indian Wells, Greasewood, Dilcon, and Seba Dalkai. She also taught for the Early Childhood Education Program at Northland Pioneer College.
In August 2007, Marla was hired by Mesa Unified School District as a speech and language pathologist. She served as a preschool classroom speech pathologist from 2007- 2010. In August of 2010 she was selected as the Lead Speech Pathologist for the Early Childhood Special Education Department of Mesa School District.
Retirement plans include traveling with Jim, her husband, who has patiently waited for Marla to retire, spending time with their children, Kelsey, Lindsey and Sean and grandchildren, Brooklynn, William and Patrick.
Of receiving the award Cassidy said, “It is an honor to be receiving an Exceptional Support Staff award. I cannot think of a better way to end a career that I have truly loved and will miss.”
By Julie Wiessner