ALTAMONT — A pioneer and longtime standard bearer for over three decades, Kristi Snider has decided to retire from teaching physical education at Labette County High School.
Also the longtime girls basketball coach, Snider intends to retain her coaching job pending USD 506 board approval. Snider also plans to serve as a substitute teacher in her retirement.
“I still want to be involved,” Snider said. “I want to see the kids and not lose contact with them. That’s the most important thing to me. The kids we have there now are very unique in their own right.”
Snider, a graduate of Eureka High School, has taught at Labette County for 33 years. After attending Independence Community College, Snider graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in physical education in the fall of 1985. Two years later, Snider joined the teaching ranks at Labette County.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Snider said. “You get to see kids in a different light. You try to get the kids to find something they like they can continue throughout their lifetime in physical fitness. It helps keep them healthy.”
The longtime staple of Altamont is stepping away for two primary reasons — to spend more time with family as well as dedicate more time to her landscaping business, Snider Lawn Care.
“My kids are older and I’ve got grandkids now,” Snider said. “I want to be able to enjoy a little more of the family.”
Snider has previously stepped down from volleyball and track coaching duties over the last five years as her business grew.
“We have a mowing business here now,” Snider said, “and it’s gotten pretty big. I’ve already taken time away in the fall and spring to keep it up.”
The value of physical education at LCHS has allowed Snider to develop relationships with kids from all facets of life over the course of three-plus decades.
“We probably teach close to 20 different activities over the course of a year,” Snider said. “We try to get all that in for them, whether it’s team sports or whatever.
“We live in a 14- to 18-year-old world. We get to see kids that don’t necessarily excel in the classroom. We got to see them and provide them their own opportunities.”
USD 506 Superintendent John Wyrick highlighted the legacy Snider will leave behind in the gym as a teacher.
“Kristi Snider leaves a lasting impression upon Labette County High School,” Snider said. “Her serving 33 years says a lot about her character, dedication and her as a person. It seems hard to imagine what the first day of school at Labette County will be with the kids being greeted by someone other than her.”
Wyrick added that Snider, who often has a reputation of pushing kids to their physical and mental limits, will be missed in the hallways.
“Kristi is a mentor,” Wyrick said. “She may come off as a perfectionist, but she has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen as a person. Listening to her stories about all the kids she’s had over 33 years that have come back to the community ... we’re going to miss that. Outside of some of these kids’ families, Kristi Snider has been the most important adult in some of our students’ lives. So we’ll have a void because of the type of person that Kristi is.”
Snider has seen generations of kids go through the high school. Shane Holtzman, the principal at LCHS, was a PE student of Snider’s.
“She’s given her life to the kids of Labette County. She’s given up family time and everything else that goes along with it to educate our kids,” Holtzman said.
While Snider will continue to have a presence at the school as its girls basketball coach, she recognizes the impact 33 years of teaching has had on her life.
“The education and the athletics have gotten me through some real rough times in my life,” Snider said. “Those kids get me through it. The kids that have had me know they are my family.”