Shawne Cryderman, principal of West Point Elementary School, said teaching came naturally to her because ever since she can remember, she wanted to be a teacher. After 34 years of being an educatorAca,!"Aca,!"30 of those years overseas in the Department of Defense Education Activity systemAca,!"Cryderman has decided to retire this summer.

Aca,!A"My mom was a teacher and when I was in first grade, I would go home and Aca,!EoeteachAca,!a,,c my twin brother and sister who are 27 months younger than I am. I would have my chalk board up and my brother would hold a flag,Aca,!A? Cryderman said.

Cryderman taught kindergarten through sixth grade and has taught everything from reading to physical education.

She taught in Korea, Italy, Turkey, Iceland and Okinawa and was an assistant principal or principal in Korea, Okinawa, Germany and West Point.

Aca,!A"I was a teacher for 16 years and have been an administrator for 18 years,Aca,!A? she said.

Aca,!A"When Lisa Bishop, a teacher and a good friend of mine died, it hit me very hard,Aca,!A? Cryderman said. Aca,!A"She died on Feb. 9 this year and she was due to retire this summer. On Feb. 9, 2008, another good friend, who just retired from DoDDS that previous fall, died. I also lost both my parents within the first year of coming to West Point.Aca,!A?

Cryderman loves being an educator but says it is time to move on and is excited at the prospect of yet another adventure.

Aca,!A"I am building a house in Arizona,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs an adult community, and I plan to open a childrenAca,!a,,cs theater, do community theater, ride my bike and play pickleball (a type of mini-tennis.)Aca,!A?

She said she loves being the principal at WPES, but the job was different than what she was used to and is a daily challenge.

Aca,!A"It was a delight being here because the children are very bright, very verbal and their parents have high expectations for them, but it was a daily challenge. I also loved working in the DODEA system; it has been an E-ticket ride.Aca,!A?

Joyce Christian, who has 35 years as an educator under her belt and is the assistant principal of West Point elementary school, is also retiring this summer.

Aca,!A"I started teaching in Tuscaloosa, Ala. at Vance Elementary School and taught there for five years,Aca,!A? Christian said. Aca,!A"A friend and I were both teachers and one of the kindergarten teachers had a daughter who was assigned to a DODEA school in Germany. She sent letters to her mom about all the wonderful things she was doing in Germany.

Aca,!A"So my friend and I applied, and both of us were accepted and assigned to the same elementary school in Osterholz-scharmbeck, Germany. Osterholz-scharmbeck was the first American school complex that the U.S. built from the ground up, and we were part of the first faculty members,Aca,!A? she explained.

Christian worked in several different schools during her 23 years in Germany as a teacher, education program manager and as an assistant principal. Outside of her first five years teaching in Alabama, West Point is the only other assignment she has had in the States.

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cve taught grades four-six and was an assistant principal both here and in Germany,Aca,!A? Christian said.
Christian loved horses as a child and always wanted one of her own.

Aca,!A"Due to my parents divorce and my motherAca,!a,,cs early death, I was on my own at age 19,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"When that happens, you donAca,!a,,ct have the money for things like horses.Aca,!A?

Christian said as luck would have it, she lived near a riding stable during her last assignment in Germany.

Since her love for horses had not abated, she signed her daughter up for riding lessons.

Aca,!A"The riding instructor could see and understand that the mom was just as excited as the daughter about horses,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"The instructor started to talk to me about a very special breed of horses he had gotten involved with called the gypsy vanner, a rare breed of horse developed by the Romany gypsies of the United Kingdom. I became very passionate about them. They are noted for their flowing manes and feathered feet that make them look like they are flying when running.Aca,!A?

Christian said she plans to move to a horse farm she co-owns with friends and will be breeding and raising gypsy vanner horses.