In a presentation filled with tears and laughter, Lonnie Hetterle, vp of education, announced to RMC employees during their monthly staff meeting in October his desire to retire at the end of December.
Holding back tears, Hetterle struggled to read the statement recalling the past 25 years of education in RMC. He moved to his present position as RMC superintendent of education after serving as RMC assistant superintendent of education from 2001–2003. Prior to joining the conference, he worked at Mile High Academy where he served as principal for many years.
“The Book of Ecclesiastics gives us the guidance that for everything there is a season and a time,” said Hetterle. “What it does not do, nor can do, is interpret the specific season and time for each of us individually. That is something that each one of us has to prayerfully and, with counsel and input, make for our own individual lives in specific situations.”
Educators across the conference were notified via email that afternoon of the pending retirement.
When Michelle Velbis, Springs Adventist Academy principal heard news she started crying. “When I began my teaching career, Lonnie took a chance on me and hired me without any previous experience,” she said. “Through the years he has mentored, inspired and empowered me to become a better teacher and a better human being.”
Hetterle explained his decision to leave in the middle of the academic year saying, “It is always better, if possible, to be hired by someone who will be your boss than to be hired by someone who then leaves. If I leave January 1, the new individual will be able to be involved in all the new hires for the 2021-22 school year.”
The accomplishments made in the education department by Hetterle were quickly recognized and applauded by many.
“Lonnie has been a tremendous blessing to our entire conference. He has done a fabulous job of letting our teachers know that they are loved and supported. He will be missed and always loved for the great job that he has done,” Ed Barnett, RMC president commented.
Barnett stated that conference administration will be searching for a replacement and asked all RMC members to keep the search process in prayer as they seek God’s guidance in filling this important role.