News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Longtime employees leave district

RANCHO SANTA FE — In every organization, there is infrastructure. That’s no different for the Rancho Santa Fe School District. The district’s infrastructure is generally staffed by people who work behind the scenes.
Cheryl Wilcox, Suzanne Benjamin and Hank Mendez, members of that infrastructure, were brought to the forefront June 14 after they each announced they would be leaving the district in search of new adventures.
“We miss you already,” said Lindy Delaney, district superintendent during the farewell party June 14, where staff and the community could say their goodbyes through hugs and some tears. The three were given a standing ovation, not to mention cards and gifts.
Wilcox was the school’s receptionist for 18 years and the first face people saw when they entered the school.
“I was the luckiest,” she said. “I got to work with the parents, the kids and the teachers.”
She opted for early retirement so she could join her husband, already retired for two years, and do a little traveling. They are planning the trip of a lifetime that will take them to Singapore, Vietnam, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. She said she is also looking forward to just slowing down.
“I will be able to take time to spend with my family and enjoy life,” she said.
Benjamin, who was an administrative assistant for 14 years, said that when given the opportunity for early retirement, and after a lot of thought, she decided to go for it. She is now looking forward to spending more time with her family and traveling. Her first trip planned is to Hawaii, and then to other places yet to be determined. Besides traveling she has other plans.
“I love art and I would like to pursue my creative impulses,” she said.
The biggest change over the past 14 years, of course was the completion of the new school.
“That was really a journey,” she said.
Mendez has been the volleyball coach for 14 years and lead custodian for nine years.
“I needed to make a change,” he said.
The changes include his returning to school and pursuing a degree in psychology. He said he will use the degree in counseling, but he’s not quite sure yet what type.
“I’m going to miss the people, the kids and I am going to miss the staff,” he said.
Delaney said that during the move into the new school, Mendez worked nearly 24-hours a day.
“I didn’t work that every day, but I did work a lot,” he said. “I really enjoyed helping the district with the transition. It has been a huge goal for the district and the community. I wanted it to go as smoothly as possible.