Rusher retires after 33 years of service with a ‘welcoming smile’

From Spring 2023 Cadets Magazine
By Ellie Walters ’25

Pam Rusher, a 1979 Concordia graduate, attended Suburban Bethlehem before spending four years at Concordia alongside her older brother and younger sister. It was important to her parents that she received a Christian education, and Concordia became somewhat of a family tradition as she later enrolled her own boys, Isaiah (’21) and James (’23) Rusher, and then began teaching the next generation of Concordia Cadets as a health and physical education teacher. She retires this year after teaching for 40 years (since 1990 at CLHS). 

After high school, Rusher pursued her love for both health and athletics at Ball State University. By her junior year of college, she recognized teaching as a career path. After graduating from Ball State in 1983, Rusher started teaching, and soon, a position to teach PE at CLHS opened up. 

“God had a hand in all of it,” she remarks after spending the past 33 years as an admired Concordia teacher. “Here was a better opportunity to teach and share God’s word at the same time, which was something instilled in me all the time.” 

As she taught, Rusher’s main goal for her students was to help them find an activity they enjoyed so they would stay active. 

“Being active makes it simpler to continue on a good life and carry out God’s mission,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you support that healthy, strong attitude?” 

Through the years, she has accumulated so many fun memories with her students and fellow staff. She reminisced about faculty TinCaps games, lip syncing contests perfected with costumes and choreography, and even kissing a pig during a pep rally. 

“That was the fun part,” she recalls, “just getting to know those people and laughing at the silly things that we did. It comes back to a family, a Christ-centered family.” 

She has also created lasting memories with her students. 

“She just has the perfect personality and welcoming smile,” said junior Alexa Jones. “Our conversations brighten my day and make my week. She's definitely one of those teachers you just click with. I love her.” 

“Miss Rusher has taught me that not everything has to be taken so seriously and life can be enjoyed,” added freshman Elyse Mertz. “She is always smiling and has a joyful personality, and I hope I can be as bright and happy as her when I get older.” 

Rusher promised her youngest son, James, that they would “graduate” Concordia together, and that’s exactly what she plans on doing at the end of this school year. In retirement, she intends to continue teaching driver’s education for another year and serving the Jared, Comfort Dog Ministry. She looks forward to having more time to visit her two boys in college, and watching Wabash College football or flying with her son at Purdue. 

“My retirement plans include continuing the ministry of Jared and his mission and exploring avenues that I haven’t been able to experience, such as, spending time with friends in the U.P., traveling, and watching the family grow through my children as they take on new adventures,” Rusher said.