Saying goodbye to over 80 years of experience


Ernie Millard, Jeff Holk, and Todd Spindler join the hundreds of Homestead staff who have retired before them.

Every year, millions of people in the United States retire. At the end of this school year, that number will include Todd Spindler, band director, Jeff Holk, district information technology director, and Ernie Millard, social studies teacher.

Spindler talks about his 30 years at Homestead positively and says he will miss the students the most.

“(I’ll miss) spending time with some of these kids. I mean, they’re so fun and they’re so smart. It’s really the best part of the job when you can just interact with that. They’re super, super smart kids and they’re so fun,” Spindler said.

In addition to students, Millard also credits his fellow teachers as what he will miss in retirement.

“I’ll miss my colleagues. These are my best friends that I worked with for decades. You know, Mr. O’Brien has been here only two years less than me. So he and I have been together through just about everything. Mr. Ciurlik has been here for a really long time with me now too. And then the rest of our department has gotten quite a bit younger, but it wasn’t too long ago that every member of my department of 12 of us had been here 20 plus years,” Millard said.
When discussing his retirement plans, Millard looks forward with a bit of uncertainty.
“I haven’t thought about it too much. It’s starting to dawn on me a little bit that I’m just going to have more freedom. Like when you’re a high school teacher, we have times off in the summertime, right? And like Thanksgiving break and stuff, but it’s very structured, and so I think I’m going to wake up that first day after I’m done teaching and go, oh, man. You know, I got some free time,” Millard said.

Millard will be able to ease into it, however, as he will still be coaching wrestling.
On the other hand, Spindler has some more firm ideas as to how he will spend his days.
“We’re actually moving out of state, my wife and I. I’m looking forward to the next thing whatever that is. I’m gonna be a Pickleball champion of wherever I go,” Spindler said.
Millard also discussed how the school has changed greatly since he began here.
“We’re not quite as big as we used to be. You know, when I was here earlier on, we had 1625 kids. The school certainly changed physically with projects. I think in 1999 they finished the addition. It’s just different, it’s a different world. You know, I guess the biggest change is just technology. When I first started teaching here, we didn’t have computers. We still used a ditto machine to print off tests, and we adapted. We adapted as computers came in and then cell phones came in. For me, that’s the biggest change is just our use of technology in school,” Millard said.
With over 60 years of combined experience between them, Millard and Spindler have gathered some wisdom and advice for future teachers at Homestead.
“Don’t be so serious. If you can help it. Don’t be serious on the things that don’t require it. It’s not everything as you know, not everything needs to be so serious,” Spindler said.
Millard said he has two pieces of advice he would pass on to future teachers.
“Number one, I would say find other people in the building to help you because it can be hard sometimes. So use those veteran teachers as a resource because they care and they can help. And then number two, and this is hard for educators because most people go into teaching because they really care about kids, is to try and find some time once in a while to create that distance. Whether it’s on the weekends or the summer time or winter break is to separate yourself a little bit because, when you read about it, teacher burnout really is an issue for younger teachers,” Millard said.
Already having had time to ease into retirement, Holk retired mid-school year after 23 years of information technology service.
“Jeff was the Director of Information Technology for the last five years and helped the district implement our 1:1 Chromebook initiative and played a key role in implementing a number of other projects to bolster the district’s technology infrastructure and security systems. I appreciate Jeff’s service and leadership in MTSD!” Lauren Croix, executive director of instructional technology and continuous improvement systems, said.
After years of service, Millard is happy about his time spent at Homestead.
“I’ve been really, really fortunate to be here for 34 years. It’s the only school I’ve ever taught in. I did my student teaching here, and I’m just really appreciative of the administrators, teachers and coaches who gave me opportunities when I was young. I’ve had a very fortunate life,” Millard said.