But one thing the second-grade teacher says has stayed the same is the support that parents and the community lend to the school, which once occupied a campus at 10th Street and Tracy Boulevard and now holds classes off Mount Oso Avenue in the city’s Southside.
“The family-type atmosphere at this school hasn’t changed,” she said.
And the feeling of family goes far beyond the students and their parents, Errecart said, extending to the people she calls colleagues. It’s why the Stockton resident commutes to Tracy each weekday without a second thought.
“It’s because of the people I work with. Not only are these people my staff, many of them are my friends,” she said. “I’ve never thought of going to Stockton.”
Perhaps her closest co-worker is Dee Lynch, who has taught with Errecart the past 15 years.
The two combine their 27-student classes daily, bouncing ideas and jokes off each other and sharing the roles of leader and disciplinarian.
Lynch described working with Errecart as “amazing.”
“We’re partner teachers. We collaborate,” she said. “It’s the best way to teach. … You pull on each other’s strengths.”
That, Lynch said, will make it “very hard” to see Errecart retire from a position in which she teaches bilingual, gifted and talented, and conventional students at South-West.
But Errecart has promised to return next year to help with special projects, including art lessons and the annual walkathon, and to pitch in proctoring standardized testing.
Errecart’s relationship with the school isn’t something she can just pull the plug on.
“It’s not the end,” said Errecart, who’s seen more than one generation of students pass through the doors of what is now South-West Park.
Two students she helped with their math lessons Thursday, May 5, Olivia Wood and Forest Brandon, had parents who once studied in the same spot.
“I’ve known their families for a long time,” she said. “I’m getting out of here before I get a third generation.”
Jokes aside, Errecart said she’s still passionate about teaching. Even after more than three decades on the job, she lights up when talking about getting kids to think critically and ask “why,” not just “what” and “who.”
“I think that’s why I’ve chosen (retirement),” she said outside her classroom. “I’ve seen a few teachers wait until they hate it, and I don’t want that.
“I want to still be young, instead of seeing me out there (in the school yard) in a walker.”
As for her retirement, Errecart plans to work on her garden, ride her bike and get good use out of a new set of golf clubs.
But the 62-year-old says she has modest goals, to begin with.
“I think cleaning my house might be a good start.”
• In the Spotlight is an occasional feature that profiles the people who make Tracy and Mountain House special. To recommend someone for In the Spotlight, e-mail email@example.com.