Bulldog Retirees: Kim Walters, Jenny Brumley, Joe Airington, Janna Brinkoetter, Courtney Lemmons


Retiring Bulldogs: Jenny Brumley, who works as data management secretary, is retiring from EMHS after 23 dedicated years of work.

Joe Airington:

Joe Airington, a beloved TA (teacher’s assistant) for Edmond Memorial’s Special Education Department, recently made the decision to retire. Airington has worked in the Special ED Department for nine years and has made a truly remarkable contribution to students’ lives. 

Previous to working as a TA at Memorial, Airington retired from AT&T as a fiber optic engineer. His job was to provide the internet to all 77 counties in Oklahoma and when he retired, he knew he still had more to give. 

“Looking back at my career at AT&T, if I would have known how much I enjoyed education and working in Special ED, I would have made the move a lot quicker,” Airington said. 

Now, retired from his second career, he is able to leave with lasting memories and connections. Every year, he dressed up as Santa Claus around Christmas time to brighten and give cheer to students that have to deal with difficult and unique struggles everyday. Throughout his time here, Airington has had the opportunity to connect with students on a personal level and make a significant difference in their lives.

“This job has truly made me a better person,” Airington said. “I had a Special ED student that gave me a lot of empathy. He could be very difficult to handle, but I really enjoyed the time I spent with him.”

Evann Guthrie, Special Education Department Chair, has worked with Airington for five years and has been around to witness the caring and heartfelt relationship he has developed with his students. 

“We’ll miss his dad jokes the most. He could tell a joke and make you believe it was real. Just last week he came in, and very seriously asked if I’d heard about the kid that had swallowed some nickels and dimes. But, when they went to do the x-ray, there was ‘no change’,” Guthrie said. “I was panicked thinking someone had really swallowed coins. He was always telling jokes like this that seemed so believable up to the very end and some were really very funny. He was always very generous with our Special Olympics program and just had a big heart. He will certainly be missed.”

After retirement, Airington is ready to fill up his free-time with adventures and spend time doing the things he loves. He has already traveled to Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa; he plans to expand this list by spending the summer in England, Scotland, Wales and back to Africa. Along with his big adventures, he will spend his time relaxing in more leisurely activities.

“I do a lot of gardening and swim every morning,” Airington said. “I also plan to substitute here at Memorial for the Special ED department after my retirement, because I know the kids, the teachers and it’s hard to get substitute teachers for the Special ED department.”

Janna Brinkoetter:

As the school year comes to a close, Edmond Memorial is saying goodbye to some faculty and staff members that have worked at the school for numerous years. At the conclusion of this semester, Janna Brinkoetter, the school’s book room and computer lab facilitator, is retiring after almost 25 years at Memorial. 

Following a career change, Brinkoetter found her way to the school and has been here since November 1996. 

“The only people I have known taught or worked at a school. I was raised by educators,” Brinkoetter said. “After working as an Ophthalmic Technician for almost 20 years, I came to Memorial and found home.”

During her time at Memorial, Brinkoetter has worked in the print room, attendance office and most recently, the book room. The book room has several responsibilities that keep the entire school running. 

“I am responsible for inventory of the books, novels and also the Chromebooks. I check these items in and out to students and faculty,” Brinkoetter said. 

Brinkoetter’s work throughout the school has been recognized by her coworkers over the course of numerous years at Memorial.

“She is very organized, detailed and dependable,” Jenny Brumley said. 

Being in charge of technology for an entire school can present chaotic and stressful situations, but Student Council advisor and tech coordinator Ron Crawford has seen Brinkoetter work under these circumstances.

“Anytime the Chromebooks have something wrong with them, teachers send students in, so she and I have both had people outside the doors,” Crawford said. “I was a little panicked, but she was more controlled and helped one person at a time.”

During her career, Memorial stood out to her due to the school’s close-knit community that she has grown close to over the years. Brinkoetter says Memorial has a family atmosphere and the school has brought her many close friends.

“She and I are retiring at the same time, so I hope to continue our friendship,” Brumley said. “We have supported each other during some pretty trying times.” 

Brinkoetter leaves a lasting impression on the school and the book room.

“She leaves a huge dent; I’m not sure how we’re going to replace her. The next person has big shoes to fill. I’m going to miss her sense of humor and her laugh,” Crawford said.

In retirement, Brinkoetter looks forward to new adventures and the opportunity to devote more time to her hobbies.

“I plan to spend a lot of time with my granddaughter, join a Bible study, sew, read, craft and meet with other retired faculty and staff once a week,” Brinkoetter said. 

Jenny Brumley:

Everyone knows that one of the hardest things to do is having to say goodbye to someone. The Edmond Memorial High School Bulldog family will have to partake in one of these goodbyes this spring. 

Jenny Brumley, who has worked at Memorial for 23 years, will be retiring at the end of this year. 

“I work, currently, as Data Management Secretary,” Brumley said. “Although I originally started out as the piano accompanist for vocal music.” 

Brumley first started at Memorial in 1999, however her original position was quickly cut due to lack of funding. She then switched to her current position as Data Secretary. 

“I transitioned into my present position as Data Management Secretary, which at the time, was a newly created position by the district for all three high schools,” Brumley said. 

Since the Data Secretary position was newly added to the district, it was only a part time spot for one semester. This allowed Brumley to travel to Cross Timbers in the afternoons as a Media Center Assistant.

Luckily, the following year, her secretary position became set in stone. This allowed her to be able to stay in one consistent location for work. 

“For my duties I run eligibility, attendance reports, track grades for concurrent students and whatever other reports are needed,” Brumley said. 

Whenever most people think of a secretary’s job it consists of scheduling appointments, answering calls, organizing meetings, etc. However, there are so many other things that a secretary can do and Brumley is an astute example of that. 

“While working here for over 20 years, Mrs. Brumley’s kind nature and caring attitude has undoubtedly impacted thousands of students here at EMHS,” principal Tony Rose said. “She has been here as our district has moved from different platforms for attendance and virtual enrollment.” 

Brumley’s impact at EMHS has also spread far outside of her coworkers. Especially this past year, with all of the struggles that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us, she has been an amazing help with these transitions; as well as having done a fantastic job working with the EMHS families. 

“Mrs. Brumley will be greatly missed but I know she has lots of great plans for retirement with her husband and family, so I am excited for her,” principal’s secretary, Shelly Shaw said.

After working in the education field for 23 years, Brumley doesn’t see herself returning to education anytime soon. Instead, she and her husband will be spending the majority of their time by partnering with non-profit ministries to do volunteer work, traveling and visiting her grandchildren in Tennessee. 

Courtney Lemmons:

After six years of working at Edmond Memorial, media specialist Courtney Lemmons is retiring. In addition to teaching, Lemmons sponsored multiple clubs during her time at Memorial, including Book Club, Game Club and Anime Club. Even though her time as a Bulldog has come to an end she has left an everlasting impression on her co-workers and students. 

Lemmons loves the Bulldog student body and will miss the fond memories she has with them including the students uniting to make a difference during Swine Week.

“Swine Week is awesome! I love how everyone comes together to make a positive impact on the lives of others,”  Lemmons said.

Myka Gilliam who works alongside Lemmons in the media center admires her kindness towards the students and the relationships she has built with them.

“Students feel welcomed and cared for in her presence and it shows. So many students come by to visit her daily, weekly and even annually. It is almost unreal,”Gilliam said. “The popularity of the library as a hang-out spot has increased largely due to her sweet smile and affable nature as well.  Overall, her presence in the library has significantly contributed to the family atmosphere we hope to foster on our campus.” 

Lemmons wants to be recollected as a kind and compassionate educator who made the school a positive environment for every student.

“I hope to be remembered as a teacher/librarian who cared about students and tried to make a positive difference in their lives,” said Lemmons.

Although she is leaving Memorial she will continue to live a life of compassion and will be caring for her parents after her retirement.

“They are both at a point in life where having additional help would benefit them. I am thankful that I will have this opportunity to spend more time with them, but also be able to help them in many ways,” Lemmons said.

Although her career may not have been the longest, Lemmons was able to make the environment of Memorial more comfortable and enjoyable, in such a short time. She will always be remembered at Memorial for her empathy and kindness.

Kim Walters:

  Kim Walters has taught at Edmond Memorial High School for 31 years, teaching at both Putnam City North and Guthrie before her time at Memorial. Walters made the decision to retire this year, after a long and wonderful career, serving students and staff faithfully everyday. 

“I teach three classes, Marketing Fundamentals, Entrepreneurship and Business Management,” Walters said.

Walters is the DECA advisor at Edmond Memorial High School, teaching students three different classes at different grade levels. To be admitted into the class and program one must go through an application, interview and selection process. 

“Then there was a situation where I realized that there were so many, more, students that I could actually impact, so rather than having the same students twice in a day, I grew it to only one class a day for each student so I’d have more room for more students to benefit from the curriculum,” Walters said. 

DECA then grew to one class per day for each grade level. 

“The opportunity to be 1 on 1 with students has been a gift,” Walters said. 

 Walters appreciates each relationship she has with her individual students. She has had a very important impact on not only students but the staff she works with.

Wendy Clark, the Interactive media teacher at Edmond Memorial said “She is always doing great things to help the community and the school.” 

Walters is constantly giving back to the community and has a major impact on Edmond Memorial. 

“Well, the best memories have always been the memories made at New York City with my DECA seniors, but the reasons why those were the best is because I had a relationship with those students for 3 years,” Walters said. 

Every year the DECA seniors take a trip in the fall to New York City for a week. Unfortunately this year seniors were not allowed to travel to New York City through the DECA program due to COVID-19 concerns. 

“Mrs. Walters has truly made my highschool experience the best. She has been such a leader for us seniors, even through such a hard year like this Walt has always been here for us,” Senior Meg Shirley said. 

Walters is always intentional to inspire in each of her classes.

“I will miss student relationships the most hands down. And the opportunity for me to still learn from students, because your knowledge is so much different than my knowledge,” Walters said. 

Walters plans on keeping these relationships with students regardless of her retirement. 

“My dream has always been to volunteer at all the places that I have set up projects with my students, so whether that’ll be long term. weather that’ll be just sharing time along the way, but I will be doing something every single day,” Walters said. 

Every year all the DECA students volunteer in many different events Walters has planned throughout the year. During halloween DECA students travel to Crooked Oak elementary to set up a carnival for elementary students. It is a tradition DECA has shared for many years. Walters hasnt only had an impact on people within Edmond Memorial, but the whole community in Edmond.

“Every teacher and student  in the school will be very sad. I have been across the hall from her for 8 years. She’s been a mentor, so I’m definitely going to miss her leadership,” Clark said. 

Walters will be deeply missed by not only Edmond Memorial but the entire community, impacting thousands of lives through her years at Edmond Memorial.