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Longtime Stafford teacher retires, but fond memories remain for her former students
Longtime Stafford County math teacher Helen Schwartz (center) taught Yvonne Nageotte some 34 years ago and her son Lane this year.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 6/15/2012
From preschool to law school, Yvonne Nageotte has had plenty of teachers.
But only one has remained such a fixture in her life that the North Stafford resident wanted to share the teacher with her son.
Her fifth-grade teacher Helen Schwartz made such an impression that Nageotte kept in touch for 34 years. And this fall, when her son Lane Nageotte-Taylor learned that Schwartz would be his math teacher, Nageotte jumped for joy.
And it turned out to be just in time. Schwartz will retire this month after 35 years of teaching in Stafford County Public Schools.
Schwartz and her husband moved to Stafford from upstate New York to launch their teaching careers. Her husband taught drafting and Schwartz taught fifth grade at Stafford Middle School.
When she arrived, the county had two elementary schools, one middle and one high school. Stafford High School was brand new. And Stafford Middle was in what is now the School Board offices. State Route 610 was a rural two-lane road.
And in her second year of teaching, Schwartz had Nageotte as a student.
"She treated us like a person, not just a pupil," Nageotte recalled. "It's rare to have somebody who teaches like that, with that style you can relate to."
Two years later, Schwartz was a seventh-grade teacher and saw a somewhat familiar face: Nageotte's twin sister, Yvette.
Their father, attorney Richard Nageotte, held a big party when his daughters graduated from middle school and Schwartz was invited. That became a trend and Schwartz later attended Nageotte's high school, college and law school graduations, as well as her wedding.
When Mountain View High School opened in 2005, Schwartz went there as a math teacher. It was her fourth Stafford school; she has taught at Stafford Middle, North Stafford High and Brooke Point High.
She estimates that more than 5,200 students have sat in her classes through the years. And Schwartz has worked hard to develop relationships with most of those students--though few of those associations have been as enduring as her friendship with Nageotte.