Rimpila to retire from teaching

Photo by Tucker Henderson
Jeff Rimpila will be retiring from New York Mills School District as a phy ed teacher. He has held that position for the past 18 years.

Tucker Henderson

Reporter

Jeff Rimpila has served as the New York Mills Elementary physical education teacher for the past 18 years, although, teaching is an occupation that didn’t immediately present itself.

“It just took me awhile, it took me 21 years,” said Rimpila of his career path. “I farmed for a couple years, then I worked at Lunds for 13 1/2 years. I went to school three times.”

Rimpila drove back and forth from Moorhead for his teaching degree and finally settled into his career path starting with a year in Frazee.

“I liked working with kids,” he said. “I did coach since 1997, eight years before I became a teacher here because I liked working with kids.” 

The past five years have been a highlight for Rimpila as the school received a grant from PartnerShip 4 Health in cooperation with the Henning School District and was able to start a bike fleet and purchase snowshoes for the students.

“We’ve had the kids outside with nature,” said Rimpila. “Being outside, doing something they can do for the rest of their life and staying healthy. Some day I want to get a bike club going. Teach kids how to fix a bike tire, how to fix a bike, go for a ride. Parents can go to a restaurant and we’d be getting the kids outside and involved in something healthy that they can do for the rest of their life.”

Another highlight of Rimpila’s career was being able to watch his students grow into young adults from kindergarten through sixth grade.

“Working with kids where you can see them develop physically, emotionally, and socially,” he said. “That’s one thing I’ve always liked about my job. The kid that struggles in kindergarten is the kid you want to have around in sixth grade. Just being around the kids and their comments and how honest they are.”

Though Rimpila won’t be teaching next fall, he will be returning to the school district as a bus driver. He said that he’s looking forward to the flexibility of the job’s schedule, as well as continuing the opportunity to work with students. He said that he might work towards a substitute teacher license, but he also hopes to lead bike fleet and snowshoe events at the school and at surrounding districts that don’t have the same gear and equipment for their students.

“We’re trying to figure out how I can take the bike fleet and snowshoes to other schools,” he said. “We’re talking with PartnerShip 4 Health to see how we can have a contract with Sebeka, Menahga, Verndale and other schools that don’t have a bike fleet or snowshoes to give them the opportunity to be outside.”

Despite the transition in career, Rimpila is happy to retain the same supportive coworkers and administration team.

“It’s been a blast,” he said. “The administration, school board, and community have been flexible and supportive. No matter what we did, field trips, track and field, snowshoeing, biking, if we needed help, we asked and people showed up. It’s just a positive place.”