Fresno music teacher who inspired her students retires after 22 years

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Central Valley music teacher has left her mark and said one last goodbye to the place she has called her second home.

"On the last week, it hits you emotionally," said Katherine Penner.

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

"It's going to be a chapter of my life that I always look back on with huge fond memories. I am going to miss it too," she said.

For more than two decades, she poured her heart into her job and said 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.

"She just always gave 100% dedication to the students. The love and the support she gave them, she never judged them, was never angry and just had so much love," said P.E. Teacher Isaiah Munoz.

"She was always a great teacher, always super patient with students and just such a loving teacher," Diana Jimenez, a fourth-grade student.

"Penner was kind, and she did all sorts of actives that were really fun," said third-grade student, Angel Nava.
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 Specials lead teacher for about 15 years.

"Just the mark that she is going to leave on this schools from her winter programs, those were show stoppers," said Munoz.

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

"Twenty-two years later, you have your students' children, and there is nothing like that. That is what makes it so hard to leave," said Penner.

On Thursday, she was surprised with gifts and goodbyes and said she would 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.

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