Margaret Shields, Community Christian School dean of students, will retire following the 2014-15 school year.
Shields has been an educator at CCS since 1978 and during her tenure has served as teacher, volunteer and administrator.
"It was a really tough decision for me, because I've loved being a part of the ministry of Community Christian School for 30-some years," Shields said. "It's been a part of our family for our whole time in Fort Dodge. Both of our children went here to CCS, and they're now grown up, but they come back for events."
Though retiring, Shields said she will continue to be involved at CCS.
"I still plan to come back and do some volunteer things here. Be a substitute, and be involved in many ways," she said. "I just won't have the responsibility of being here every day, day in and day out."
Shields began at CCS teaching preschool part time and kindergarten for half days. She then taught first and second-grade classes.
"Growing as a teacher, from a young teacher, your first year, you're kind of learning," she said. "You learn more as you teach more and more classes. You gain more wisdom about different things to try with students. I have enjoyed working one-on-one with students."
After spending a period as a volunteer while raising her children, Shields returned to CCS as a teacher and later became the school's administrator. In 2013, Shields led the school in celebrating its 35th anniversary and moving to its new site.
"Moving into this position, as dean, has been a whole new challenge, especially with the move to our new building," she said.
Being an educator has its challenges, Shields said.
"When you're in the classroom, every year will be different because of the students you have. You'll have a different challenge," she said. "Education is never an eight to five job. There's always things you're working on in the evenings, planning ahead, checking papers."
She added, "It's been a more than full-time job all these years, and I know now is the time God wants me to step back, let somebody else come in."
Shields will continue as CCS dean of students through the school year and into the summer.
"I'm hoping I will be able to help the new person transition in. At this point, the school board is still in the process of looking at applications for the position," she said. "I'll just fade into the woodwork at some point in time. I'll be here as needed and help out as needed through the summer, and we'll go from there."