Teaching is in Renee Anguiano’s blood.
Her mom, Mary Burgess, 91, of Kennewick, taught elementary school in Pasco for about 31 years before retiring in 1987.
Now Anguiano is retiring after 35 years teaching at McLoughlin Middle School. Wednesday is the last day of school in Pasco.
Burgess taught fourth grade at Captain Gray Elementary School when the principal was Rowena Chess. The former educator, a tiny woman who knew the name of every student at her school, now has a Pasco school named in her honor.
After 19 years at Captain Gray, Burgess moved to Robert Frost Elementary because the school district had started a new policy requiring teachers to move after so many years.
Anguiano said her mother encouraged her to follow in her footsteps and become a teacher. As a high school student, she would go to her mom’s classroom after school and tutor younger students.
“I always told her it was the best job she could have,” Burgess said. “It’s a grand old job.”
The women attended Brigham Young University, and Anguiano taught in Utah for two years before returning to Pasco.
Anguiano said her mom encouraged her to teach elementary school, but she found she liked middle school-aged kids better.
“They are unpredictable, totally unpredictable,” she said, adding that it’s kept her on her toes.
There’s nothing like it when a kid really grasps a concept, Anguiano said.
“That fuels a teacher’s fire for a long time, when they finally get it and they like it, and they start being really successful,” she said.
When Anguiano started teaching at McLoughlin Middle School, it was a junior high in a building where Pasco City Hall is now. The building had started out as a high school.
She started out teaching language arts in a Title I program for disadvantaged children. She also spent time as a reading specialist.
Her favorite class to teach also was a favored student elective — tech lab. The class allowed middle school students to explore lasers, robots and other technologies.
She estimates she taught about 3,000 students in the tech lab over the years.
Anguiano said her dad worked in construction, and she always loved to tinker. She said she had enough of a computer background to teach the class and loved showing her students that women could do engineering.
When she got out of school, technology was not really made available to girls as a career, she said. Anguiano thinks she would have liked to go into an engineering or tech field had it been available to her at the time.
A few of her previous students have gone on to become engineers, she said.
The lab ended when McLoughlin moved to the new school. While the class was a lot of fun for both teacher and students, Anguiano said it was expensive.
Since then, she’s been back to teaching language arts.
Anguiano said she hopes retirement will give her some more time to garden, travel and volunteer at her church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.