STELLAR CAREER: Educator retires after 35 years

COLUMBIA CITY — After 35 years of being an educator, Bob Hoke is retiring.Hoke has been in education most of his life, and most of it was spent right here in Whitley County Consolidated Schools. He has been the principal of Northern Heights Elementary School for the last 10 years.“My educational experience all began in kindergarten,” said Hoke. “I grew up on a farm in Goshen and after high school went to Ball State University.”Hoke began his teaching career at Goshen Middle School teaching seventh, eighth and ninth grade students.“Do you remember the television show ‘Welcome Back Kotter?’ Well Mr. Kotter had high school students. I had the same version of students only they were middle schoolers,” said Hoke.He spent two years there. After that, Hoke went back to Ball State and took a year off and received his masters degree.“I returned to Goshen and taught three years each at Chamberlain and Waterford elementary schools. I received my administrators license and moved to Whitley County,” he said.In Whitley County Hoke spent 12 years as principal at Coesse Elementary School, four at Washington Center and the last 10 at NHES.“I like Whitley County and especially Columbia City,” said Hoke.“It’s a small-town atmosphere, just like Goshen, and everybody knows everybody else. I remember getting in trouble in school and everybody knew my mom and dad. When I was a teenager I went tee-peeing with friends and I got caught. The policeman said, ‘Are you Gordy’s boy?’ So you see everybody knew each other. That’s nice.”