The Winnebago CUSD #323 recognized Ron Ferguson on Monday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. in the middle school gym. He retired after devoting 56 years to the district.

By Doug Schroder
The Winnebago CUSD #323 held a Recognition Night for Ron Ferguson on Monday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. in the middle school gym.
The District celebrated Ferguson’s 56 years of employment in the roles of Teacher, Principal, Coach, Athletic Director, and Director of Maintenance. In addition to current staff and students in attendance, co-workers and past students also came to the occasion.
“I got to see a lot of old friends and former students, including some of the maintenance crew who had left and retired. I really enjoyed meeting all the folks I worked with and taught and coached. That they took the time to come and see me was really wonderful,” Ferguson said later in a phone interview.
Ferguson’s official first day of retirement was Wednesday, Aug. 14.
In a statement from the school district website announcing the special night for Ferguson it was written, “Ron has approached every day with a great sense of joy and Winnebago pride. He will be missed from our District.”
Ferguson grew up in New Lenox where he graduated from Lincoln Way High School, then moved on to Thornton Junior College where he received his associate degree. Enrolling in NIU after that, Ferguson attained his bachelor’s degree, and then later on his Master’s in Education
Ferguson moved to Winnebago in 1963 when he landed his first job out of college, teaching sixth grade students and tutoring elementary students.
“One of my fondest memories was meeting the first class and learning how to do the craft of teaching,” stated Ferguson. “When I began I thought I would teach my whole career. Winnebago kids are special and the community has been great to me, so I’ve gone wherever [the District] asked me to go, or did whatever they asked me to do.”
Having filled the different roles he did over those 56-years, did Ferguson favor one position over the other?
“I enjoyed them all, but I lean towards the Maintenance Director. I always enjoyed the maintenance people. They do an incredible amount of work and get very little notice for it,” said Ferguson.
Mike Prestegaard will move up as the new Director of Maintenance. Prestegaard had worked for Ferguson for 12 years in the department.
“He lives and breathes Winnebago, and did what it takes to do the job. He’s one of a kind,” said Prestegaard of his former boss.
Now that Ferguson has retired what does he plan to do with his time?
“I have a couple big garden spots I like to take care of, of which a Fairy Garden is included in one of those spots,” said Ferguson.
Flower gardens filled with perennials and annuals are what Ferguson likes to work with, vegetables are rarely included in the mix.
Ferguson plans to spend more time with his daughters Judy and Stephanie, their spouses and their kids, which is a total of three grandchildren in all.
“Grandkids give me such a joyful feeling,” said Ferguson.
When the weather gets cooler, Ferguson plans to visit Texas where Stephanie resides with her family.
Closer to home, Ferguson has plans to take his grandson David to see more movies.
Don’t be surprised to see him at various games, concerts and art shows about town in the future, also.
“I just enjoy Winnebago,” concluded Ferguson.

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