PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING: Finet retires after 40 years teaching speech

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Shelley Finet plays a game which students. Fine is retiring from Greenfield-Central schools after serving 35 years as a speech pathologist at Harris Elementary School. Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — Although she’s been a speech pathologist for more than four decades, Shelley Finet’s not sure she can find the right words to describe just how much her years in teaching has meant to her.

Finet has spent the past 35 years serving as a speech language pathologist at Harris Elementary School, making her the longest-tenured teacher to retire from Greenfield-Central schools this year. During that time, she’s also served in the same role at St. Michael Catholic School in Greenfield.

Before coming to G-C, she worked for a few years at an elementary school in northern Indiana as well as one year in New Castle, working 43 years total.

Finet said it would be hard to guess how many students she’s taught throughout the decades given the fact she’s sometimes had well over 100 kids on her caseload.

Some of her most precious memories are when students finally attain good communication skills after sometimes struggling for years.

“It’s great to see when they have their own ‘aha’ moments,” she said. “It’s a wonderful celebration when their classmates also acknowledge how good they sound.”

As a speech language pathologist, Finet has taught students to work through language difficulties and sound production challenges while helping them to dissect and identify different sounds.

As a student at Ball Student University, she was originally studying elementary education until a friend told her about the speech pathology courses she was taking.

Her interest sparked, Finet eventually switched her major to speech language pathology, through which she could still teach children.

“I really liked honing in on that communication piece as opposed to teaching reading and math and things like that,” she said. “I liked being able to not only assist children with their speech sound production but basically help them be a better communicator, and also help them with many pre-reading skills.”

As a student herself, Finet grew up in Yorktown, Ind. and graduated from Yorktown High School.

She married her husband Jeff 35 years ago, around the same time she landed her job at Harris Elementary School.

The couple raised their three daughters in Greenfield, a place she’s been happy to call home.

Finet said Harris Elementary has been an amazing place to work for the past three and a half decades.

“I have an amazing group of teachers that I have worked with over the years, and it would not have been the same without their camaraderie and support,” she said. “We have amazing leadership at Harris Elementary, and we hold each other up. The support of each other has always certainly been the key to success.”

Principal Sarah Greulich, who has led the school since 2019, said Finet is the type of teacher you can never truly replace.

“Shelley has been such an incredible blessing to us here at Harris and to the community as a whole,” she said. “She’s been able to make such an amazing impact on so many kids throughout the years.”

Finet said her retirement plans include “rest and relaxation,” including spending plenty of time with her husband, parents, children and grandchildren.