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Hartland Schools 'Person of the Month' for January: Darlene Kuehn

Darlene Kuehn, aka "Mrs. Cheladyn," has worked for Hartland Consolidated Schools in a variety of capacities and buildings since December 1979.

By Hartland Schools

Darlene Kuehn, also known to many former students as “Mrs. Cheladyn”, has worked for Hartland Consolidated Schools in a variety of capacities and buildings since December 1979. She currently resides in Central Office and handles attendance, workman’s compensation, PESG, etc., etc….

Darlene is a graduate of Henry Ford High School (The Trojans) and began her career in Hartland as a playground/lunchroom aide at Round Elementary School. “I went in to pick up my children from (school) and was asked if I wanted to be a playground and lunchroom “lady”. I was lucky enough to have picked the day that had pushed the limits of the lady before me. Thank you, Paulette Riffle, for my over 30-year career. I think that was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”

Darlene, her husband and three children, moved to Hartland in 1974 from Detroit. She notes that moving from the city to the small town of Hartland, with its one truck stop, bakery, grocery store and lumberyard, not to mention the cows, chickens and tractors, was a “real step back in time”.

Her children all graduated from Hartland Consolidated Schools, and Darlene shares a bit of that experience, “my children all have wonderful memories of me working in every building they went to…my belief, maybe not theirs. It was often not a good thing because I was easy access for the teachers to stop by my desk and fill me in on my son’s sense of humor or to inquire as to the whereabouts of my oldest son. He could generally be found in the auto shop with Mr. Weston.”

Most memorable moments:

“I was excited to share the job of class sponsor for the Class of 1993 with my dear friend, Toni Silsbe. I made contact with every one of those students through the four years they grew from freshmen to seniors. What a wonderful experience that was! Even now I get to see some of them when they come to enroll THEIR children in kindergarten and Community Education programs.”

“My most exciting experience during all my years in Hartland was being asked to be the Keynote Speaker for the Class of 1991. I was honored that the students voted for me to speak to them because I had been with them from my first day at Round Elementary up until they graduated. My youngest son was in first grade when I started and when he graduated I got to stand up and pour my heart out. It was truly a moment I will always treasure!”

Why are you are still here?

“My heart grows every year because of the friendships I have made with my co-workers and others from this district. I get a real rush when I am out and about and someone comes up to me to give me a hug because they remember me from when they were in school. I am so proud of who I am when someone tells their child that I was their playground lady or office lady. The tears flow for me when they add that they remember the one day that they needed a hug and I was there for them. That is worth so much!

I remember back to when I went through a rough time and my “work family” lifted me and carried me through the heartache and made my struggle easier. Where do you find that in the big city life? I am a better person because of the many people that have touched my life through my years in Hartland.”

Positive thoughts about Hartland Consolidated Schools:

“Over the years there have been so many changes in our district – the addition of buildings, changing of the guard – yet this district has always been centered on the students and their families. How wonderful is it that for over 30 years, I have had an inside view of a very successful operation? If you think about the growth of this district since I started in 1979, there have been many changes to the look of the district, but the core remains the very same. Students, families and the community are what drive our teachers, administrators and support staff to do such an outstanding job.”

“The countdown has started for when I will retire and go on to my next “life”. I look forward to being part of the Hartland Senior Center and remaining friends with my work family. I also look forward to sleeping in and not scraping the snow off my car before taking on the “Hyne Road curves” in the winter.”

“One last story of my time in Hartland while my children were attending school… I got a call from (what was then) the Farms Middle School. It was Mrs. Anderson, the school secretary, and she called me to share something that had just happened. My son, Kris, was serving a detention that day in a room right off of the main office. He went to her desk and asked if he could make a call about his lunch. Well, because we were friends, she allowed him to make the call. Mrs. Anderson assumed that he was calling me. About a half-hour later a pizza delivery man showed up in the office with the pizza my son had ordered…”

“I am going to miss this place and all of my fellow employees!”

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