Ballard’s Gorman to retire after long teaching, coaching career

Marlys Barker, Tri-County Times Editor
Ballard’s Gorman to retire after long teaching, coaching career

Brenda Gorman knew she wanted to teach, but even more so, she knew she wanted to coach.

“When I started college, teaching was the way to coach,” said Gorman, whose mother was a teacher, which also influenced her career choice.

Gorman, who has spent 39 years in education — 38 of them at Ballard — will retire at the end of this school year. She currently teaches eighth-grade civics.

Gorman, who was raised at Calamus, started her career in the Diagonal School District after graduating from William Penn College in Oskaloosa. At Diagonal, she taught business classes in the high school and was the head track coach and assistant basketball coach.

After only one year at Diagonal, Gorman’s high school coach, Steve Shook, who was teaching and coaching at Ballard, encouraged her to apply to teach at Ballard, where she would become his assistant coach for basketball, softball and track. It was a move she never regretted and a place she’s gone the distance with her teaching and coaching career.

At Ballard, Gorman has taught a variety of classes, including seventh-grade geography, eighth-grade U.S. history, typing, business law, accounting, personal finance, general business, economics, computer science, career education and civics. She also was the head girls’ high school track coach from 1993 to 2008, the head girls’ high school basketball coach from 1980-1988 and served as an assistant coach for basketball, track and softball before taking on the head coaching jobs.

“Getting to know the students and their families,” she said, are the biggest rewards of her career. “It hasn’t been boring. I have stayed at the same school, but taught many different things over the years.”

While her greatest challenge as an educator has been dealing with students who have the attitude that education isn’t important, so they don’t want to work hard; Gorman said she enjoys knowing that students do learn, even though at times they act like they aren’t interested. “I have many come back and tell me that they remember specific things that they learned and how it helped them later.”

Gorman’s retirement plan is to spend more time with her family, which includes her husband, Bill; daughter Elizabeth; Elizabeth’s husband, Dan; and their daughter, Olivia; her son Daniel, Daniel’s wife, Natalie; and their son, Louis.

As she leaves Ballard, Gorman said she will miss all the people — teachers, students, principals, associates, secretaries, janitors and cooks — whom she has come to know over the years. One thing she won’t miss, she said, is “all the things teachers are required to do in addition to teaching the students.”