Barry Hensler is known for making his students finish their woodshop projects on their own.
But students will no longer struggle through 59-year-old Hensler's projects - including the somewhat infamous eighth-grade project, the breadbox. "Mr. H" has retired from the school district after 28 years of service, the past 24 as the woodshop teacher at Eagle Valley Middle School.
"He wanted everyone to succeed," said Tommy Dudley, 16, a former student. "He wanted everyone to actually put effort into it. That way, we actually learned what we were doing."
Since 1982, Hensler estimates, he has taught 9,853 woodshop students at Eagle Valley Middle School. His goal was 10,000, but he fell short. Some of them were children of former students.
"I don't ... I don't know how I feel (about leaving Eagle Valley)," he said. "It's something that I love. I enjoy the kids. They're the reason I've been doing it for so long. They keep you young and they keep you going. I'm sure I'm going to miss that."
Hensler graduated in 1975 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a bachelor's degree in art, coming to the Carson school district in 1978 to teach art to seventh, eighth and ninth graders at Carson Junior High.
He was one of three original staff who opened Eagle Valley in 1982.
"He has a wonderful rapport with students and he is very very well-respected," said EVMS Principal Ferd Mariani. "He was here with me when I started 24 years ago."
Over the years, Hensler's classes progressed from one-year segments to six-week sessions. He does a different project for each grade level.
"They go from fairly simple things using basic hand tools in the sixth grade," he said. "In the seventh grade, you use some power tools and hand tools, and in the eighth grade, you use more complicated tools."
"I thought he was really nice and straightforward," said 14-year-old Hannah Dudley. "He would guide you, but he would never do (the project) for you."
"I had him in the beginning of the year, but he didn't say anything about retiring," said 11-year-old Camilla Dudley. "But it's in our yearbook."
Hensler and his wife, Ginny, plan to visit their children, Jessica, who works for an architectural firm in Reno, and Zachary, who is a performer on Broadway.
"I could stay busy for eight hours a day, 24/7 because I'm just a tinkerer," he said. "I just do little things. I paint the house and mow the yard. I don't think there's going to be any problem about finding something to do. I think I'm going to miss the kids quite a bit. Some of them have said they're going to look for me."
• Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
A total of 21 certified staff, including teachers and counselors, are retiring this year from the Carson City School District. Many of them will be acknowledged by their principals at tonight's school board meeting.
"They will be recognized before the board and receive a token of appreciation," said Richard Stokes, associate superintendent of human resources. "It's a time to indicate they're leaving, say thanks for a job well done and then present them with a little token."
The retirees represent approximately 4 percent of the entire certified work force. Of those positions, three are not being replaced.
"This decision is based on the decrease in student enrollment within the district," Stokes said. "The decrease in student enrollment translates directly into lost revenue for the district. By adjusting the staffing levels, the district is attempting to maintain the current educational programs while trying to be as efficient as possible with the available revenues. Core subject areas and other hard-to-fill positions are generally filled when vacancies exist."
Retirees will be honored at 7 p.m. in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.
- Maggie O'Neill