For the past 32 years, mid-May would be crunch time for fourth grade teacher Dee Treshnell.
But with the school year wrapping up in just a few weeks, Treshnell is far removed from the days of hurriedly getting her students ready to close out the year. In fact, she’s about as far away from that life as you can possibly get.
Treshnell retired in February after 32 years of teaching in Mill Valley, from Homestead School (now ) to Old Mill. A few weeks after her retirement, which included a send-off celebration with dozens of current and former colleagues and students, Treshnell moved to the South Island of New Zealand to be with the love of her life and enjoy retirement Down Under.
Treshnell met that love on a trip that many of her colleagues say was typical Treshnell. Ten years ago, she took a sabbatical and established the first counseling program on the island of Taveuni, Fiji, working with teens on issues of conflict resolution, bullying and resiliency.
While on that sabbatical, Treshnell met New Zealander Kiear Eggers “in a coup,” she says, and they fell in love quickly. With thousands of miles between the lives each had established, the next move required, well, an incredible amount of patience, Treshnell says. A single parent, Treshnell says she wanted to stay in Marin until her son Noah went all the way through school.
That patience is now being rewarded, Treshnell says. She retired in February because former Old Mill teacher and parent of a fourth grader Erin Lyons was interested in returning to the district and her familiarity with everyone made it a smooth transition.
Old Mill Principal Kandee Adams calls Treshnell a “valued friend and mentor” who was “a positive influence on the lives of hundreds and hundreds of students over the course of her career.”
“We wish her joyful adventures in this next chapter,” Adams says. “We are going to dearly miss her."
Board President Robin Moses says she knew Treshnell had found love with a New Zealander and says she’s thrilled that Treshnell “was able to live out her dream.” Treshnell taught Moses’ daughter Sarah in fourth grade 7 years ago.
“She was absolutely perfect for my daughter,” Moses says. “She taught her how to write well and how to love writing, something she continues to do.”
Moses says that Treshnell’s counseling background also made her perfect four adolescent girls in particular.
“Dee was the most compassionate and understanding and empathetic teacher Sarah ever had,” she says. “But she still managed to push. She gave the kids independence and at the same time but knew exactly how to get the most out of them. I’m so glad she’s happy.”
Treshnell never intended to become a teacher. Before heading off to New York City to pursue theater, she took her mom’s advice and got her degree in education from West Virginia University.
She began her career doing student teaching at a high school in West Virginia before moving to Marin to become a long-term substitute teacher at St. Vincent Home for Boys in San Rafael. She then moved onto Homestead School before a stint at Sacramento Country Day School.
She taught at for many years after that before shifting to being the school’s counselor for nine years. In that role, she established a conflict resolution program and worked with the county to run a program focusing on resiliency among teens.
From there, Treshnell moved to Old Mill as a fifth grade teacher before shifting to fourth grade in 2004. In 2008, Treshnell garnered the Marin County Office of Education’s Golden Bell Award for outstanding teaching.
At Old Mill, Treshnell established a conflict resolution program with third grade teacher John Selix. She was also an active leader of the teachers union, negotiating contracts with the district for four years.
“I always worked well with students at risk, the student who may be a bit different than the average student, the child who needs more of a mentor relationship than just a teaching one, and I am proud that I have been able to make those students feel just a bit better about learning and about life,” Treshnell says.
“I feel amazingly lucky to have had a job that I have loved doing every single day,” Treshnell says. “The children of Mill Valley are amazing. They are bright, have a sense of responsibility for the world, are kind and caring, are informed and love discussions.”
“Now it’s on to a new chapter,” she says.