Not many people can say they have worked for the same organization for more than five decades.
Joe McNulty is one of the exceptions.
McNulty, who retired from teaching and coaching in 1994 and has run the school district’s mail route ever since, was recently honored by the school district for his 55 years of service.
“School has been my whole life,” McNulty told The Gardner News. “I don’t have any hobbies. I am afraid that if I quit (working) I would sit down and die.”
McNulty, a Coffeyville, Kan. native, started his teaching career in the school district in 1956.
He spent most of his career as a junior high/middle school teacher and coach.
McNulty coached track for 29 years, basketball for 24 years and football for nine years.
His love for his students kept him going.
“I loved the kids,” he said. “If you don’t love middle school kids, you would want to kill them.”
McNulty taught two generations of students during his career, and many credit him for introducing them to interscholastic sports.
“I taught parents and their children,” he said. “I never got to the third generation.”
In addition to his work on the mail route, McNulty has also stayed involved in middle and high school sports, and attends nearly every event.
His dedication to school athletics earned him a place in the Gardner Edgerton High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Former student Rick Kessler has fond memories of running track for McNulty, whom he described as “very fair.”
“When I was in eighth grade, I probably was not going to letter because I wasn’t good enough,” he said. “But he (McNulty) put me on the relay team where we ran the 220 back then. We had a really good team. He put me in as the anchor because I wasn’t very fast. When I got the baton, I was way ahead of everybody.
“And because I got the medal, I lettered.”
Ron Ragan, school board president, said McNulty has always been a diligent and hardworking.
“With as many years of service as Joe has, one would think of the job as mail courier as a way to ‘take it easy’ as you head toward retirement,” Ragan said. “Well, I can tell you that is not the case with Joe.
“On the occasion that I work from home and Joe has delivered some district documents to me, he runs them to the door and before I can even get to the door Joe is back in his van and half way down my driveway. Honestly, I believe this is how Joe has handled every job he has had with this district. Joe gets the job done and done right. Whether it is as an acting principal, teacher, coach, directing crowds, selling tickets, or coordinating kids for track meets, Joe treats every job the same.
“He treats it as the most important job of the day because it is his job that day. So to say Joe McNulty has ‘worked’ for this district for 55 years is a gross understatement. This has been Joe’s district for 55 years. Joe’s legacy is USD 231.”
McNulty honored for 55 years service to the Gardner Edgerton School District