Retiring Terry Aslesen, Kathy Mills honored for decades of service to Mitchell High School

Two staff members have 73 years of combined service to MHS

Mitchell High School's Kathy Mills and Terry Aslesen were honored Wednesday, May 5 ahead of their retirement at the end of the 2020-21 school year. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

With a combined 73 years of service to the Mitchell School District, two local educators were recognized this week ahead of their upcoming retirement from education.

Mitchell High School science teacher Terry Aslesen and guidance counselor Kathy Mills were honored by administrators, fellow teachers, friends and family on Wednesday during an employee recognition ceremony. Employees at Mitchell High School, Mitchell Middle School and the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy were also honored for meeting landmarks for years of service

A native of Nebraska, Mills started her education career as a teacher in Gettysburg before being hired as a special education teacher in Mitchell and later moved into school counseling. She is capping her 30th year in the Mitchell School District. On Wednesday, Mills was described by her peers as an ace at handling class schedules and registrations for thousands of MHS students and helping to point students in the right direction for post-secondary opportunities.

Aslesen, who graduated from Mitchell High School in 1974, has taught in the district for 43 years. He taught math and science for MMS and has taught various disciplines of science and history at MHS, earning the state’s science teacher of the year award in 2011. Aslesen also worked as the assistant to the superintendent, MHS assistant principal for seven years and high school principal for eight years, including the state’s principal of the year in 2002. He has also been an adjunct professor at Dakota Wesleyan University and Huron College.

Aslesen said he appreciated the chance to have his class or teaching help a student with something of importance in their life, and in retrospect, wouldn't have wanted to do anything else for a career.


Mitchell School District years of service honorees

  • 15 years: Joe Childs, MHS principal; Nancy Leach, MHS math teacher; Sharon McNary, MMS food service; Christina Siemsen, MHS social studies teacher; Amanda Sonne, MMS sixth grade teacher; Kim Van Overschelde, MHS custodian
  • 20 years: Jen Falor, MHS custodian; Clayton Gropper, MHS CTE/health/athletic trainer; Michelle Mebius, MMS mass customized learning/Spanish teacher; Gretchen Smith, MHS language arts teacher
  • 30 years: Cheryl Miller, MMS personal health/wellness teacher; Kathy Mills, MHS counselor
  • 35 years: Steve Easton, MHS maintenance
  • 40 years: Jan Weisser, substitute coordinator
  • 46 years: Debbie Garton, MMS administrative assistant (recognized after reaching 45-year mark in 2020)
Related Topics: EDUCATION
Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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