State College

‘A second home with a second family’

Deb Latta is retiring after 37 years with the State College Area School District.
Deb Latta is retiring after 37 years with the State College Area School District. Photo provided

It’s one thing to say you work somewhere; it’s another to say your work is like a second home — with people who are like family.

But it’s a little bit like that for Deb Latta.

After 37 years with the State College Area School District, the Mount Nittany Elementary School principal is retiring.

“One thing that is neat being a teacher in the district and now as principal is that I’ve seen so many parents who were also former students and also teachers on staff who were former students,” Latta said. “I’ve been here so long, in a way, it’s like a second home with a second family.”

Latta, a Penn State graduate, started at the district in 1979 as student teacher for 10th-grade English at the State College Area High School South Building.

She was then hired by the district shortly after that, and for more than 15 years taught seventh- and eighth-grade English at Park Forest Middle School.

By September 1995, when the district decided to open a second middle school, Latta made a change.

At the time, she was the teachers union president, but got credentials to be an assistant principal at the middle school and was in the role for six years.

She then made a lateral move to State High where she was in that role for about five years before becoming principal. She said the move to State High happened in 2000 or 2001.

Latta oversaw the school until about 2010, when another new challenge caught her attention.

“It was January 2010 and I was asked to consider being principal at Boalsburg Panorama (Village Elementary School),” she said. “I never thought of going to the elementary level, but I lived in Boalsburg for 12 years, and this was the only challenge I never did. I was always in the middle and high school, and when they asked, I initially told them to look for someone else who had more experience at the level.”

But she agreed and started the new adventure July 1, 2010.

The next year, that school closed and Mount Nittany Elementary School opened in its place at a nearby location.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made,” Latta said. “Each place has amazed me and I was always delighted with the professionalism of faculty and staff. It’s like a tightknit family. I loved every day of it.”

Some of her favorite memories included her first day as Mount Nittany Elementary principal.

“After coming from the high school South principalship, I was wondering what might be the first discipline situation that came up in my office,” she said. “I felt I could tackle anything that came my way. That evening at home, my husband asked how my first day in the elementary world went. I replied, ‘Well, the major incident I had to deal with today was that someone spilled his chocolate milk at lunch.’ It made me realize just how different this new elementary life was going to be, and it’s been such a crazy and fun ride.”

After officially retiring at the end of June, Latta said she plans to spend July with her husband on a monthlong vacation and cruise in Iceland and through Scandinavia.

Her husband, Stan Latta, is also retiring this year after 40 years at Penn State.

“It worked out nicely,” Deb Latta said. “We like to travel, so we plan to do a lot of that.”

They also have two daughters, one in New Jersey and another in North Carolina, who they plan to visit.

Additional State College Area retirees

▪  Jeffery Bailey, special education paraprofessional, Park Forest Middle. With the district for 5 years

▪  Robert Brown, custodian, Corl Street Elementary. With the district for 31 years

▪  Linda Eggebeen, health and physical education teacher, State High South. With the district for 19 years

▪  Tami Gilmour, biology teacher, State College Area High School North Building. With the district for 17 years

▪  Mary Knight, biology teacher, State High North. With the district for 27 years

▪  Robert Labarca, music teacher, Radio Park Elementary. With the district 30 years

▪  William Lukens, science teacher, State High South. With the district for 6 years

▪  Jane Steff, instructional technology specialist. With the district for 25 year

▪  Diane Twomley, computer paraprofessional. With the district for 22 years

▪  Lois Zimmerman, food service secretary. With the district for 31 years

▪  Linda Ranaudo, library paraprofessional, Easterly Parkway Elementary. With the district for 23 years

▪  Diane Chester, instructional paraprofessional, Easterly Parkway Elementary. With the district for 14 years

▪  Rebecca Shirer, library paraprofessional, Houserville Elementary. With the district for 23 years

▪  Judith Shue, music teacher, Radio Park Elementary. With the district for 28 years

▪  Paula Wilson, special education paraprofessional, Ferguson Township Elementary. With the district for 17 years

▪  Smita Gandhi, instructional paraprofessional, State High North. With the district for 19 years

▪  Marcia Covington, special education teacher, State High North. With the district for 14 years

▪  Carol Grim, kindergarten teacher, Radio Park Elementary. With the district for 21 years

▪  Linda Duffy, instructional support teacher, Gray’s Woods Elementary. With the district for 37 years

▪  Christa Johnston, clerical paraprofessional, Ferguson Elementary. With the district for 22 years

▪  Patricia Caprio, special education paraprofessional, Mount Nittany Middle School. With the district for 7 years

▪  Priscilla Mcshea, counseling secretary, State High South. With the district for 17 years

▪  Holly Foy, RT teacher, Delta Program. With the district for 22 years

▪  Mary Hershey, chemistry teacher, State High North. With the district for 28 years

▪  Peter Moyer, social studies teacher, Park Forest Middle School. With the district for 39 years

▪  Kathleen Petach, attendance secretary, Gray’s Woods Elementary School. With the district for 19 years

▪  Samuel Rocco, music teacher, Mount NIttany Middle School. With the district for 25 years

▪  Mark Smeal, elementary teacher, Houserville Elementary. With the district for 31 years

▪  Robin Verbeck, business education teacher, State High North. With the district for 25 years

▪  Alma Row, instructional technology specialist, Mount Nittany Middle School. With the district near 3 years

▪  Frances Shacklock, special education paraprofessional, State High North. With the district for 6 years

▪  Randolph Fetters, custodian, Easterly Parkway. With the district for 23 years

▪  Michael Hardy, assistant superintendent. With the district for 11 years

▪  Susan Keister, special education paraprofessional, Radio Park Elementary. With the district for 15 year

▪  Scott Mato, elementary principal, Corl Street Elementary. Been with the district for 7 years

▪  Patrick Moore, director of special education. With the district for 21 years

▪  Kim Rotthoff, food service worker. Been with the district for 13 years

▪  Carol Yeagley, social studies teacher, Mount Nittany Middle School. With the district for 25 years

  Comments