'Immortal' kindergarten teacher retires after 33 years in same classroom

Gail Yampol is retiring after 33 years in the same kindergarten classroom at Brier Elementary School in Snohomish.

A Snohomish County educational institution is retiring after 33 years of teaching.

Gail Yampol has taught kindergarten in the same classroom at Brier Elementary School for over three decades.

"It's really hard to think of her leaving, because she has been here for so long," said Becky Callan, who had Yampol as a teacher and whose twin daughters had her as well. "She seems like one of those immortals who will always be Miss Yampol from Brier Elementary."

Yampol has spent 47 years in education, 33 of them in Brier. She has become a pillar of the school and an inspiration to both students and staff.

"I feel so lucky that I've gotten to be a teacher," said Yampol. "I think it's one of the best jobs in the whole world. I'm already crying pretty much every day."

Yampol credits her principal and support staff with helping her ability to stay sane while managing herds of rambunctious 5-year-olds for more than three decades.

Para-educator Rita Lyon has been at Yampol's side in the classroom since day one.

"We're like an old married couple," said Lyon with a laugh. "I've been with Gail probably longer than both my marriages together!"

Yampol is a Brooklyn native and retained her thick accent even after decades on the West Coast.  Her soft-spoken but no-nonsense New York attitude plays well with the kids.

"I don't take any guff," she said with a warm smile.

Make no mistake though. Yampol loves her kids fiercely, and the children feel it.

"She cares about us," said one little girl, whose mother also had Yampol as a teacher.

Yampol won the 2016 National Education Association Award for Excellence in Washington state.

The beloved teacher said one of the most gratifying things about leaving a job she loves so much is knowing that she truly was loved in return by countless kids, parents, and fellow teachers over her career.

"The kids are all that matters to me," she said. "I've loved each and every one of them."

© 2017 KING-TV


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