Retiring teachers: Mrs. Wycka, Mr. Stepp and Mr. Fox leaving this year.


Brooks Huber, Reporter

 The 2021-2022 school year will be the last for several teachers as they retire from many years of teaching at Newsome or moving on to greater things. Mrs. Wycka, Mr. Stepp, and Mr. Fox are all set to leave this year. Each of these teachers have left a major impact on Newsome reflected by the sentiment of students and teachers.

   Mrs. Wycka left on Thursday Feb. 17 after 13 years of teaching ceramics; She was clapped out by the students as she walked side-by-side across campus with Mrs. Rocha, followed by the Newsome drum-line. Mrs. Wycka will be moving up to become Head of the Art Department for Hillsborough County.

   One of Mrs. Wycka’s students, Avery Johnson, showed great appreciation for her. Johnson says that Mrs. Wycka really cared for all her students, making sure they were okay and being there for them when they needed someone to talk to. She also described Wycka as a patient teacher with a variety of different teaching styles to appeal to different learning types.

   Johnson describes a focused and caring teaching style for Wycka; Mrs. Wycka was determined and helpful in teaching Johnson, going so far as to spend half the class helping Johnson with her house in ceramics class. She also gave students important life advice like always take your time and think of what you are going to do next.

   When Mrs. Wycka was clapped out, Johnson said she enjoyed the sweet jester but was sad to truly see she was leaving. She is really happy to see Mrs.Wycka move up though, as she is assured that she will enjoy it. She said Mrs. Wycka always wanted to teach and help students learn the best way possible, and her new job will help her do just that.  

   After teaching psychology for 18 years at Newsome and 35 years in Hillsborough, AP Psychology teacher Mr. Stepp will retire at the end of this year.

   “When you’ve been in a place for so long, that’s part of your legacy” he stated. His 18 years at Newsome is his legacy. He’s helped to shape this community, and it’s helped shape him. 

   Mrs. Rocha, Newsome’s principal, said to Mr. Stepp “It’s clear your love of teaching and building meaningful relationships with our students has made a positive impact on Newsome and our community.” It is safe to say his legacy will remain in the halls of Newsome for years to come. 

   AP Psychology teacher Mrs. Teague is a former student of Mr. Stepp and now works alongside him. She says it is amazing to be able to work alongside a mentor that she can ask questions to. She says his influence inspired her to go into psychology when she did not know what to do, and that he helped teach her to create a safe classroom environment for all students. Mrs. Teagan said she is sad to see him go and that he will be leaving an amazing legacy.

   Mr. Stepp explains that his reasoning for leaving is to do things while he still can. For example, Mr.Stepp wants to see the mountains in Virginia and the Carolinas.

     So, Mr. Stepp joined a system called DROP. According to, the Florida DROP system funnels money into a retirement account for five years, after which you retire. 

   Mr. Stepp will retire when the school year ends in June. Several former students of Mr. Stepp’s have begun going in to say goodbye before he retires, and Mr. Stepp plans to spend spring break finalizing his retirement plans.

   Similarly, Mr. Fox has been the AP Biology teacher for many years and will also be leaving at the end of this year.

   He says that now that he is 67 years old he is ready to retire and enjoy a peaceful life of fishing and travel. 

   Mr. Fox has become known and admired by many people at Newsome, and he has come to know many people well. For example, he and Mr. Podd have often enjoyed talking and laughing together during fifth period lunch.

   Mr. Fox started teaching after having worked in the air force to protect his country, a career that heavily impacted his life. He was happy to make a difference while also providing for his family. 

   He hopes to make a positive impact on all his students by teaching them to have strong integrity and always work hard. He has also learned plenty about teaching AP Biology, advising that the next teacher should teach the curriculum and work hard with every student.

   All three of these teachers are beloved members of Newsome that people will be sad to see go. They have done an amazing job teaching the students of newsome and their legacies will stay with Newsome for a long time.