Inspiring Fresno music teacher retires after 22 years

A Central Valley music teacher has left her mark and said one last goodbye to the place she has called her second home.

Video Transcript

- A Central Valley music teacher has left her mark and said one final goodbye to the place she has called her second home. Action News reporter Eliza Navarro shows us her impact on students, staff, and parents at one Fresno Charter School.

KATHERINE PENNER: On the last week, it hits you emotionally.

ELIZA NAVARRO: Katherine Penner is reminiscing on the eve of retirement, following a career as a music teacher at Edison Bethune Charter Academy.

KATHERINE PENNER: It's going to be a chapter of my life that I always look back on with a huge fond memories, but I'm going to miss it too.

ELIZA NAVARRO: For more than two decades, she poured her heart into her job and says it's the students, parents, and staff who made her journey unforgettable. But her colleagues and students say she brought the passion that led to a special experience.

ISAIAH MUNOZ: She just always gave 100% dedication to these students. The love and the support that she gave them, never judging, never getting angry with the student because she just had so much love.

DIANA JIMENEZ: She was always a great teacher. She was always super patient with students.

ANGEL NAVA: Ms. Penner was kind, and she did all sorts of activities and they were really fun.

ELIZA NAVARRO: Penner played an instrumental role in starting the school's choir and violin programs in the '90s. She also held additional titles such as reading coordinator and special lead teacher for about 15 years.

ISAIAH MUNOZ: Just the mark that she's going to leave on this school from her winter programs, those were showstoppers.

ELIZA NAVARRO: She says one of the highlights of her career was creating strong bonds with her students and seeing them grow up.

KATHERINE PENNER: And then 22 years down the line, you have your student's children, and there's nothing like that. That's what makes it so hard to leave.

ELIZA NAVARRO: Thursday she was surprised with gifts and goodbyes, and says she will never forget her time on this campus. Her next focus will be spending valuable time with her grandchildren, and plans to stay involved with music one way or another. Eliza Navarro, ABC30, Action News.