East Washingtonian - Your Hometown News Source

Trio of teachers retire this year

Mr. Bates says good-bye after 37 years


July 2, 2020

-Submitted photo

Sanford Bates

POMEROY–Sanford Bates has retired from a 37-year career in teaching, with 34 years spent with the Pomeroy School District, teaching Chemistry and Physical Science, but mostly Biology and Spanish.

Bates was born in Spokane, Wash., in 1959, and soon after moved to Edmonds, Wash., where he grew up and graduated from high school in 1977. From there he moved to Ellensburg, Wash., and attended Central Washington University (CWU). He graduated from CWU with a B.A. degree in Education in 1981, with a minor in Spanish, and followed up with a Master's degree in Education and Biology.

His first teaching job was in Sela, Wash., where he began as a Migrant Aide to a bilingual teacher, and subsequently became a bilingual teacher himself. After spending three years in Sela, he moved to Pomeroy in 1985, along with his wife, Sandra Bates.

Sanford and Sandra met in college at CWU and were married in 1981. Together they have two children. Tony Bates, currently residing in Germany with his family, including one son, is also a teacher, teaching English there. Their daughter Sarah lives in Moscow, Id., and is raising three daughters.

Several years ago, Bates received the Pomeroy Teacher of the Year Award. The grant money received was used to purchase a gun for his World War II gun collection.

He says he will miss working with the kids and building relationships with them. He also will miss working with the great Pomeroy Schools staff. He picked up the skills of working with a yo-yo a couple of years ago, and it became his trademark with the high school students. Comments from students have included that Bates created a very relaxed atmosphere in his classroom, and they really liked having him for a teacher.

His immediate plans include spending more time with grandkids, finding time to play golf, gardening, reading, and travelling, although he has no desire for a motorhome. He has also written two books about World War II, and a "western with a gospel slant." He has done some preaching over the years, even for five weeks in New Zealand. There may be plans to do more writing and preaching in his future as well.

He also added that after growing up in a big city, when he and Sandra first moved to Pomeroy they had planned to stay a few years and move on. But, they loved it here so much, that after 35 years, they plan to stay.


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