One last time around the track


Miller Middle School 8th grade girls track team members point out their coach, Don Wiser. Wiser is retiring after 39 years teaching and coaching in the Marshalltown Community School District and 44 years total in the field. (Photo by Stalzer Photography)

Wiser enters final coaching season, nears teaching retirement in physical education

For Don Wiser, a career of 44 years is coming to an end this spring.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Wiser said. “It doesn’t seem possible it’s been that long.”

Wiser is retiring at the end of the school year as physical education teacher at Anson Elementary School. He has taught in Marshalltown Schools for the past 39 years after five years previously in Keokuk.

When not teaching, Wiser keeps busy coaching. As Miller Middle School track season opened up, Wiser has entered his final coaching season. He has coached girls track at the middle school level for 39 years, volleyball for 31 years and girls basketball for 25 years.

Wiser credits his longevity to his motto to do everything with energy, enthusiasm and a positive attitude.


Don Wiser

He also gives a big nod to his wife Ruthanne, who has been supportive of him and his hectic schedule. The two hope to travel to places such as Alaska and Ireland in future years in retirement. Wiser also plans to return to substitute teach and coach as well in the future.

Miller athletic director Grant Brintnall said Wiser has been a very dedicated coach at Miller. He sets rules and standards for athletes to follow and helps students learn and grow, Brintnall said.

“Don is passionate about coaching,” Brintnall said. “He will be tough to replace and certainly will be missed.”

Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis said Wiser is an ultimate team player who not only teaches his classes but also helps out in the lunch room and other places when a need arises. Manis said his energy level translates over into the students.

“Don has an infectious enthusiasm that students ‘catch,’ ” Manis said. “It’s great to not only see Don teaching physical education, but it’s fantastic to see him doing everything he’s asking the students to do physically. It’s hard to believe someone with his energy is retiring.”

Wiser looks back at his career and said the good days have far outweighed the bad days in physical education and coaching – which is why he stayed so long at both. He said that day when his retirement becomes official is going to be an emotional one.

“That last day is going to hit me hard,” Wiser said. “I’ve spent two-thirds of my life doing this.”

Retirement Tea May 17

The Marshalltown Education Association and Marshalltown Community School District will honor Wiser and other 2017 retirees during the retirement tea event at 4 p.m. on May 17 in Dejardin Hall on the Marshalltown Community College campus. The event is open to the public.

AnsonPBIS copy.jpg

Physical education teacher Don Wiser gets students moving during an assembly last fall at Anson Elementary School.