Woodgrove Honors Retiring Teachers

Woodgrove Honors Retiring Teachers

Nicholas Sparks once wrote, “Good teachers are priceless. They inspire you, they entertain you, and you end up learning a ton even when you don’t know it.”

This quote applies to many of the teachers of Woodgrove, several of whom are retiring this year. Edward Brosh, Johanna Cona, Samantha Purvis, Louise Spicer, and Susan Wrenn all have chosen to move on to something new. Even though most will no longer be in the building, they will have left a great impact on the school and students that will never be forgotten.

Mr. Brosh:  Mr. Brosh, a U.S. Government and Pre-AP World History teacher, has been at Woodgrove since it opened five years ago. He is finishing up his 39th year of teaching, 15 of which have been spent in Loudoun County. Even though he has had a great experience in the public school system, Brosh has three main reasons for moving on:

“I am at the point in my life where I have the opportunity to do other things. I’m approaching the usual retirement age. In terms of finances, my wife and I should be able to do well based on all the years we’ve spent teaching,” he explained.

He mentioned that his wife is also a teacher at Lovettsville Elementary. She will be retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year. After he leaves Woodgrove, Brosh plans to keep running and playing tennis, as well as babysit his grandchildren a couple times a week.


Mrs. Cona:  Mrs. Cona, an English 10 teacher, officially retired three years ago, but is deciding to leave Woodgrove for good at the end of this year. For the past three years, she has been teaching only two classes instead of the usual five. Cona always knew that she wanted to become a teacher.

“It was always there. I looked at it as a way to transmit knowledge and bring out the best in young minds. The path just formulated itself, and I followed it,” Cona said.

After 44 years of experience, she has discovered that the hardest part about being a teacher are the workload and getting the students to believe in themselves. The single memory that impacted her most was when a she wrote a college recommendation for one of her students. It truly hit home when his mom called her to tell her that he had gotten accepted. Her plans after leaving Woodgrove include tutoring kids in writing at Lord Fairfax College and editing a book for a friend.


Mrs. Purvis:  Mrs. Purvis, an AP Language teacher, is retiring after 15 years of teaching, all of which have been in Loudoun County Public Schools. However, this was not her first career. Out of college, Purvis spent 20 years serving in the army, completing her career with a rank of Sergeant First Class. When she retired from the military, she decided to go back to school. Purvis said that she made this decision because she had always wanted to be a teacher. Over the years, Purvis said the moment that touched her heart the most was when she taught a homebound girl with a terrible disease.

“I taught her all of her core subjects and she passed all of her SOLs,” Purvis said. She added, “It frustrates me when I see other students who are perfectly healthy and fine, but they don’t try very hard.”

Purvis is moving on from her career as a teacher because there are a lot of other things she would like to do. She wants to take up painting and possibly take up a position as an assistant technology resource advisor.


Mrs. Spicer: Mrs. Spicer, an AP World History and dual enrollment teacher, has decided to officially retire this year. She is bringing an end to 34 long years of teaching because she works all the time.

“I’m quite honestly just tired of working,” Spicer said. “I would like, while I’m still young and energetic, to do something different.”

Spicer is not planning to leave the school completely, however. Next year, along with teaching classes at Northern Virginia Community College, she will continue to teach two dual enrollment courses at Woodgrove: African and Latin American Studies. Her favorite course she has taught is Art History. She loves the culture as well as “being surrounded by beautiful, wonderful things.” Her love of art is why she wants to eventually work as a tour guide at the National Gallery. The hardest thingabout her departure from Woodgrove will be how much she will miss the kids.

Spicer said, “What I love the most about my job is closing the door and being with my students.”


Mrs. Wrenn:  French teacher Madame Wrenn is retiring after 30 years of teaching. Wrenn didn’t start her career until she was 32, but she has been teaching most of her life. In college, she earned money by training horses and riders. She also worked in the speech therapy department at the University of Connecticut, where she attended classes. It wasn’t until after she graduated college that she realized what she really loved about those jobs were the teaching aspect of it. She majored in French, but did not pursue education until later on.

“It didn’t really strike me until I was a little older after I graduated that I actually enjoyed the teaching, the process and the result, seeing kids understand and make progress,” Wrenn said.

Bringing an end to 30 years of teaching, Wrenn said that the things she will miss most are the kids and her colleagues. After leaving Woodgrove, Wrenn plans to work part time, although she is not sure where. She also wants to do some traveling, something she hasn’t had much time for.