Longtime Gifford teacher to be honored upon retirement

Linda Tiarks, who is retiring after more than 30 years teaching at Gifford Grade School, holds one of her grandsons, Silas Tiarks. She will be honored at an open house June 1 in Gifford.

GIFFORD — An open house is planned by her family to honor longtime Gifford Grade School teacher Linda Tiarks upon her retirement.

The open house is set from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at Werner Roessler Memorial Park, Gifford.

Appetizers, desserts and drinks will be provided.

All former students and Gifford Grade School staff are encouraged to attend.

Mrs. Tiarks, daughter of Noel and Berniece Hinton, grew up in Champaign-Urbana and graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1974 with a major in English and a minor in math.

She married Richard Tiarks and began her teaching career in 1975 at Calhoun High School in Hardin, where she taught for a few years before moving to Waukesha, Wis., in 1980 for seven years while attending and teaching the children of staff and students at New Tribes Bible Institute.  

She moved to Gifford, where she was a substitute teacher in the area for a few years. When the eighth-grade teacher at Gifford Grade School, a Mr.  Allen, left during 1990-1991, she became the eighth-grade teacher and has continued in that capacity for the past 28 years, which included teaching all four of her own children.  

Mrs. Tiarks has taught sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math, eighth-grade reading, history and homeroom at Gifford.   

The Gifford Grade School graduation was May 17, and her last official day of teaching is May 28.  

She has taught in some capacity for more than 40 years.

Gifford Grade School Principal Rod Grimsley said Mrs. Tiarks has been a true professional.

“For her as a teacher in the classroom, she teaches with a lot of rigor and has high expectations for all of her kids, and she doesn’t like to water down anything,” Grimsley said. “In addition to the classroom material, she still emphasizes teaching a lot of life lessons to her kids, which is beneficial this day and age.”

Grimsley said Tiarks seems to have good respect from all of her students.

He added: “I think probably the most impressive trademark I’ve seen from her is that no matter how bad or good the day before has been, the next morning, she greets the students at the door, shakes hands with everyone and says, ‘Have a good day.’”