After 27 years as a teacher, coach, administrator, athletic director and a bit of a jack-of-all-trades in Peabody-Burns school district, Ray Savage will end his 31-year education career July 1 and begin another in a one-man shipping and receiving office at Affordable Street Rods on the south edge of Peabody.
“Teaching has been a good profession for me,” Savage said. “I have had great students, athletes, and colleagues. But sometimes, a person just feels that the time is right for a change, and that is where I am now.”
Savage got his education degree at Kansas State University and taught for four years at the small town of Gorham, near Hays. He came to Peabody in 1989. He taught government and social studies and took coaching positions. He became PBHS athletic director in 1994 and got his degree in administration in 2001.
“When I was a coach and later, when my own two children were playing, it was fun to be a part of weekly athletic ritual,” he said. “But anymore, going to a game doesn’t mean coaching the kids or even being able to watch much of a game. It means being in charge of referees, locker rooms, concession stands, and other non-game issues. That’s just one thing, but I would like to go to a game because I want to go. I would like to just watch it.”
Savage says being in a school environment is just like being in a large family.
“You grow close to some people and learn to share the good and not-so-good times,” he said. “Many times you do things or deal with people just because you have to — someone has to. But it is all part of the job.”
“Most of all I will miss the kids, but there also are staff members I worked with daily that gave their all every day. I will miss those people,” he added.
He admits his future will be about as different from teaching as anything he could have chosen.
When asked what he knew about the street rod industry, he replied, “Absolutely nothing. But, it will be receiving shipments and sending shipments. I don’t think it will be too hard.”
Savage said he wore a lot of hats at USD 398.
“I did many things during my 27 years here. I planted grass seed, laid all the new carpet in the grade school a few years ago, raked leaves, taught, coached, scheduled games and bus routes, answered the phone, disciplined students, and even drove a bus full of kids to the church the day of the bomb threat,” he said. “I think I can handle the new job.”
“Teaching is different now,” he said. “Teachers have to do more with less, programs and regulations come down from the state that require more training. Many of those things take a teacher away from actually teaching.”
Savage plans to remain in the community. Working at Affordable Street Rods will give him the chance to work regular hours, maybe see a high school sporting event or two, and still be in contact with friends and colleagues.
“I have no plans to leave. I have enjoyed being here and being a part of Peabody and the school system,” he said. “But sometimes it is just time for a change, time do something else.”