Updated January 2021


DCRTA members make Covid Masks


A big thank you goes out to the Dearborn County retired teachers who made over 1800 COVID-19 masks in just three months! To begin the project Quilter Garden donated interfacing and Lucille Klerk donated fabric. Then $1805 was received in donations.


Organized by Judy Mosier and Cathy Mund, seamstresses included Etta Bostwick, Lucinda Campbell, Cindy Dibiase, Patty Harper, Janet Hart, Denise Kilburn, Jennifer McClamrock,, Marsha Malie, Judy Mosier, and Deane Wise. Patti Bloom sent thank you notes to all who donated.


The Dearborn County Retired Teachers have also made it their community service mission to make pillowcase dresses and shorts for overseas missions. These individually-designed dresses and hair pieces are all personally delivered to the missions.


If you are interested in participating in these projects, contact this site for additional information. Also, note that anyone can become a member of the Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association as an associate member. Again, contact this site for details.


Though retired, these retired teachers remain active in their communities. They have been a blessing to many here locally and around the world. They continue to teach some very important values.


DCRTA receive IRTA Honors


The Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association (DCRTA) was excited to learn that its nominee, Mary Jo Sloan, has been selected for the AMBA Clock Award for outstanding volunteer service in Area 10 at the Indiana Retired Teachers Association’s 2020 Representative Assembly.  The Clock Award presentations are the highlight of the Representative Assembly as they recognize those members who go above and beyond normal volunteer service in the state. 


Sloan’s volunteer services are many and varied.  Upon retirement Sloan began serving as a member of the Dearborn County Retired Teachers Foundation which gives grants to Dearborn County teachers for innovative teaching needs.  She also works with students in the “Good News” program after school and volunteers in her church’s many activities. She is committed to the youth in her church and has taught Sunday School classes for many years.  Sloan is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma which helps with many projects around the area and across the state.   She works with TOPS, coaching members to improve their health, lose weight, and develop a lifelong new way of thinking.  During the past year, she became good friends with a Chinese girl and worked with her to improve her English skills.  As a past Special Education teacher, Sloan’s true passion as a volunteer is working with the Special Olympics.  With these children she helps them build confidence, the spirit of giving, and teamwork.  The DCRTA congratulates Mary Jo Sloan.


Other DCRTA members were also recognized by the Assembly for volunteer service. These members were recognized as Honorable Mentions and include Marita Cizek, Jane Richie, and Cherie Rump. The Association also thanks them for their many unselfish-giving hours.


The 2020 Representative Assembly again recognized Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association with an Outstanding Group Project Award.  For a number of years the retired teachers have been making pillowcase dresses and shorts to send overseas for missionary purposes.  The Association won a group project award several years ago for this endeavor.  This past year the group added barrettes to their pillowcase dresses.  A barrette was pinned to the dress so that the girls could wear them on the dress or in their hair.  In Africa, hair is worn very short because of to health and weather reasons, so the girls often choose to wear the barrette as jewelry. The barrette addition to the dresses, which became an overwhelming success with the seamstresses, was initiated by Mary Bradley, one of the group’s members. Literally hundreds of barrettes have been made and included with the dress project.  The Association thanks Bradley for this initiative.


The DCRTA was again recognized at the Assembly for outstanding achievement in Public Relations.  The Association’s recognition was in the areas of news releases, association newsletters, and website.  Dennis Bourquein who serves as Chair of this committee has also served the Association as a past president of the Dearborn County Retired Teachers and as a past president of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association.


The DCRTA thanks all of its members for their willingness to serve their communities and organizations. Our time and service make our communities and organizations better places in which to live.





Golden Thread Award Winners

The Dearborn County Retired Teachers proudly honored two of their own at the association's June 5th Association meeting.

Honored were Bev Strasmeier and Marilyn Warneford. Both ladies are avid sewers and both have been active participants in the Association’s Pillowcase Dresses and Shorts project, which transforms regular and fitted sheets into clothing.

Marilyn, a former school office secretary, has sewn over 1,100 shorts for the project and Beverly, a former Manchester School teacher, has sewn over 900 shorts.  Both ladies have given many loving hours and days to working on this project, both at the Community Center, where the sewing group meets and in their own home.

The Pillowcase Dresses and Shorts project has been a long-standing project for the Dearborn County Retired Teachers.  Begun originally by members of the Hamline Chapel, the retired teachers took over the project in 2011 under the leadership of Gerri Barber and Jean Vaughan. The project has sent dresses and shorts to thousands of children throughout the world.  Each year dresses and shorts are given to American missionary groups going oversea to distribute to the many children to which their groups minister. In the past these countries include Haiti, Brazil, and Tanzania, as well as many nations in Africa.


Dennis Bourquein, DCRTA and IRTA Past President Honored With Circle of Corydon Award

 Senator Jean Leising surprised Immediate Past President Dennis Bourquein with the state Circles of Corydon award recently at the Indiana Retired Teachers' Representative Assembly in Indianapolis. Bourquein was honored for his twelve years on the IRTA Board, most recently as the Immediate Past President.

The Circle of Corydon Award is for Hoosiers who have made remarkable contributions to the betterment of Indiana and its people, demonstrating through life and service qualities exemplified by the state’s greatest citizens.

Bourquein began as the local Dearborn County Retired Teacher Vice-President under DCRTA President Charles Workman. He then served as DCRTA President for six years. As IRTA's Area 8 Director, he also served on the state Public Relations Committee. Nominated to become the Secretary-Treasurer of IRTA, he served on the Membership Committee. As President-Elect he served on the Legislative Committee. He was the President of the Indiana Retired Teachers 2015-2017. For the past two years, Dennis has continued on the Board as the Immediate Past President. He will serve as consultant at the up-coming Executive Committee Retreat and as a Search Committee member for the new IRTA Executive Director.

In addition to the Circle of Corydon Award, Bourquein was presented with a retirement award for his twelve years on the Board of Directors.



IRTA Executive Director Tom Mellish Retires


On June 24, after four and a half years of service,  Tom Mellish IRTA Executive Director officially informed the IRTA Board of Directors that he was stepping down from his position as of October 4.  He stated that he has enjoyed his time serving as the IRTA Executive Director, but he felt that it was time for someone new to come in with new energy and ideas to move the Association forward. He explained that he wanted more time to do his own things and he also stated that having his wife Cynda now retired played a major role in his decision.


Tom will be greatly missed as he has done so much to improve our Association, as well as his work supporting retired teachers in the State Legislature. Tom visited all of the local chapters in the state and was a strong supporter for local and state membership.


A Search Committee has been formed by IRTA President Barry Conrad and plans are moving forward to select a new Executive Director. Mellish has agreed to assist in this search.



DCRTA Member Cherie Rump is 2019 IRTA Area 10 Clock Winner


Cherie Rump, a graduate of Dillsboro High School (1966) and Ball State University began her position as librarian in the Batesville Community School Corporation.  In 1985 she was hired by the South Dearborn School Corporation where she served as librarian for Aurora Elementary and Aurora Middle School.  From 1997 until her retirement in 2005 she oversaw all four of South Dearborn’s elementary schools’ libraries.

Cherie has been an active member of the ARC of Dearborn County in which her granddaughter has been a participant. During her granddaughter’s elementary years, Cherie oversaw camp stations where she shared picture books, made up songs, skits, puppet shows and other activities that related to the camp’s theme.


Cherie has volunteered in South Dearborn Schools since her retirement.  She has worked one on one with students, small groups, and with students who had been absent.


Cherie started the Seuss Week while working in the South Dearborn Schools and still continues to wear her Cat in the Hat costume and visit SDCSC school when asked.


Cherie is involved with the Dillsboro Community Partnership and volunteers on the Dillsboro Heritage Festival Committee where she now serves a 2019 Heritage Festival Chair. During the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial, Cherie created a pop-up museum displaying a detailed timeline followed with Dillsboro’s history until present day.  She also created a Historical Scavenger hunt designed for families, assisted with a fourth-grade musical entitled “Indiana – That’s Where I Belong,” and coordinated an art contest for all students. 


Cherie additionally serves on the Community Park Board, assists with the 2019 Relay for Life, and works replanting and caring for the flower beds at her church.






Dearborn County Retired Teachers Take Honors


Dearborn County Retired Teachers’ delegates to the Indiana Retired Teachers Association’s Representative Assembly on June 13 at Ben Davis High School returned home excited and proud of the recognition and awards received by the local chapter.


The Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association was only one of two local associations in the state to receive Outstanding Recognition in its Public Relations’ area. This recognition consists of local association newsletters, press releases, and website work.


In volunteer service Dearborn County led the state in the collection and recording of volunteer hours for the second year.  A total of 53,396 hours was recorded by Dearborn County retired teachers.  The total state recorded hours were 910,231.  According to the Independent Sector organization at Washington D.C., each volunteer hour is valued at $24.69.  Thus Dearborn County hours totaled $1,318,347.24 of the state’s $22,473,603.39 hours.  Volunteer hours are used by retired teachers to negotiate for state benefits.


The National Retired Teachers Association each year sponsor a “With Our Youth” award for individuals in our nation that have done outstanding volunteer youth-centered service.  This year, Dearborn County’s retired teacher, Gerri Barber was the recipient of this outstanding award.  Gerri has been the organizer of the Pillowcase Dress and Shorts program that the Dearborn County Retired Teachers have been doing for a number of years.  This is the second time that Dearborn County has led Indiana in winning this prestigious award.


Dearborn County is a very active chapter in the Indiana Retired Teachers Association. The Association meets formally four times a year.  Remaining meetings for 2018 are August 21 and October 23.  The association meets in the Greendale Middle School at Lawrenceburg and all retired teachers, active teachers, or friends of education are welcome to attend. Current co-presidents Kim McGranahan and Jim Pierce preside over the meetings.




Gerri Barber – NRTA National Award Winner


Gerri Barber, DCRTA member, won the prestigious National Retired Teachers’ With Our Youth Award in recognition for her work with the Dearborn County Retired Teachers’ Pillowcase Dresses and shorts project for overseas missions.  The project which began in 2012 has sent over 5000 dresses and 1000 pairs of shorts all over the world.  Examples of destinations include orphanages and tent cities in Haiti, missions in Tanzania; Goiania, Brazil; Toga, and Manaus, Brazil.


The With Our Youth Award is presented yearly to a retired teacher who has done outstanding service for youth.  Recipients are selected by an independent panel and scored for how well the project addresses the five promises to our youth (provide caring adults, a safe place to learn and grow, health/wellness, effective education, and opportunity to serve).


Currently the retired teachers are working with Kids Against Hunger, which is partnered with A Child’s Hope International, to send dresses and shorts along with the vitamin-fortified rice that is sent to various missions.  Barber has personally taken dresses and afgans to a cousin’s church in Florida who serves a lot of Hispanic families.


In addition to her work with the Pillowcase Dresses and Shorts, Barber additionally donates time to various other local organizations, some of which includes the Dearborn County Social Council’s Friendly Visiting program, the Pregnancy Care Center, the Clearinghouse Store, PAWS, and Headstart.






The Passing of DCRTA’s Beloved President, Denise Kaffenberger


It is with much sadness that we report the death of our beloved Dearborn County Retired Teacher President Denise Kaffenberger on November 6, 2017, at the age of seventy.   Denise was such a willing volunteer.  She served both as President and Vice-President of the Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association.  She also was an incorporating member of the Dearborn County Retired Teachers Foundation where she served as the Vice-Chair.  Retired teacher news was published by Denise in the award-winning Recess Bell, the Foundation newsletter, and the DCRTF’s Annual Report.  Additionally, she served on the Indiana Retired Teachers’ State Community Service Committee and was a member of DCRTF’s Indiana Association of Public Education Foundations.  Denise organized the 2017 outing to Beef ‘n Boards with Dearborn and Ripley counties.  The retired teachers in Dearborn County won state and national recognition under her leadership.  To say she will missed is an understatement.


Denise retired from the Lawrenceburg Community Schools where she was the Gifted/Talented Teacher.



IRTA Representative Assembly Award


The Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association returned from the Indiana Retired Teachers Association Representative Assembly jubilant over the recognition received during the Assembly.  DCRTA was recognized for the second year in a row as the leading county in the state for collection of volunteer hours.  A total of 52,639 hours were recorded by the members of the Association.  These hours are important for use with the state association in negotiating with the state legislature for a stipend or COLA to the teachers’ retirement pension.  


Also awarded at the Representative Assembly were three Outstanding Awards for Public Service Recognition.  Denise Kaffenberger received the award for the DCRTA newsletter, The Recess Bell, Betty Bourquein received the award for DCRTA/DCRTF news releases, and Dennis Bourquein received the award for the DCRTA/

DCRTF website.


Dennis Bourquein, former President of the Dearborn County Retired Teachers, was recognized for his service to the Indiana Retired Teachers Association, having served four years as Area Director, two years as Secretary-Treasurer, two years as President-elect, and two years as State President.  Dennis’ last official duty as President was presiding over the 2017 Representative Assembly.  He remains on the IRTA Board of Directors as the Immediate Past President.  The new IRTA President for 2017-2019 is Jane Boultinghouse of Spencer, Indiana. 


Dearborn County Project Activities


Dearborn County Retired Teachers have many projects and activities throughout the year. The Dearborn County Retired Teachers Foundation provides classroom grants to active teachers.  Any teacher teaching in Dearborn County is eligible to apply for the Educator Grant/Award.  To date over $11,000 has been given to teachers in the local schools.  The grant application is available on this website.


Another project that has far-reaching effects is the Pillowcase Dresses and Shorts project.  This project has brought state recognition to the Association.  Every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. various members of the Association and friends gather at the Lawrenceburg Community Center to sew and make pillowcase dresses and shorts to send overseas to foreign missions. Participants do not necessarily need to know how to sew as many jobs including cutting, pinning, etc are needed.  The group is headed by Gerri Barber, a retired teacher.  Over the years the retired teachers have made and given away over three thousand dresses and two thousand shorts to children and adults in Brazil, Haiti, South Sudan, Tonga, Dominican Republic, Honduras, and India.  “Love the Hungry” out of Louisville has taken items many times along with food packages on their mission trips. The group is always looking for new participants, so if you would like to help, just show up at the Community Center on Thursday morning.  Be sure to bring your sack lunch and your machine if you wish to sew.








Each year the local chapters of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association keep track of their volunteer hours to help with State Legislative negotiations for better pension benefits for Indiana retired teachers.  Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association set an all time record for 2015 with 53,689 volunteer hours.  A total of 287 members reported hours.  Of this total 13,274 hours were with the youth of Dearborn County and 40,415 were with civic, social, church, and other community organizations. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics conversion scale at the U.S. Department of Labor, this converts to $1,210,686.95 worth of volunteer service.  Congratulation DCRTA and THANK YOU retired teachers for your service and dedication to the students and communities in Dearborn County.





Dear Dearborn County Retired Teachers,

Thank you very much for your participation in the 2015 Salvation Army Kettle Drive.  With your help, we will again be able to provide funds for those in need from Dearborn and Ohio counties.  Your efforts directly helped raise $945.08 of this year’s total of $26,607.45. 

God Bless You,

Sue Manford, Kettle Coordinator







Jessica Barber is awarded Active Teacher Grant for Area 10



Jessica Barber, a senior and an education major at the University of Evansville, was named the Area 10 winner of the Indiana Retired Teachers Foundation Scholarship for 2015. Jessica is a graduate of Lawrenceburg High School and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success at Evansville. She is the daughter of John and Ginger Barber and the granddaughter of Chase and Jeraldine Barber who are members of the Dearborn County Retired Teachers Association and the Indiana Retired Teachers Association. The local members of DCRTA are very proud of Jessica and her accomplishments. Area 10 includes nine counties in southeastern Indiana. This is the first time DCRTA has had a winner in recent memory. The Indiana Retired Teachers Foundation gives a scholarship each year to one student in each of the ten areas in the state. In order to apply for this scholarship a student must be an education major at an Indiana university or college and can apply with sophomore class standing for their junior year, or junior class standing for their senior year. The student must be an Indiana resident and the son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, legal dependent or spouse of an active, retired or deceased member of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association (IRTA).



 Updated March 2021