After 35 years of service in Adventist education, Richard Booth, principal and grades 5-8 teacher at the Maranatha SDA School in Moberly, Missouri, is retiring.

“We have been so blessed here at Moberly to have Mr. Booth as principal and teacher for the last 30 plus years,” said Dana Diede, school board chair for the Maranatha School. “That kind of longevity at one school is very rare. His steady leadership, Christian example and commitment to children has fostered an engaging classroom experience that has made a positive impact on the many students that have passed through our school. It has truly been a pleasure to work with him over the years and we deeply appreciate all that he has done in preparing our students not only for life here on earth but for our eternal life in heaven.”

Richard’s history with Adventist education began long before his teaching career. His parents believed strongly in sending all eight of their children to Adventist schools. Richard attended grades 1-8 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and graduated from Oak Park Academy in Nevada, Iowa.

Intending to go into fulltime gospel ministry, Richard started at Union College as a theology major. The following year he attended a community college in Cedar Rapids, but when he returned to Union College for his third year of college he changed his major to elementary education.

After graduating from Union in 1976, Richard taught for one year in Humbolt, Iowa, before deciding to take a break from teaching to work in construction. Education kept calling him, however, and he eventually started working at Alpine Springs Academy in Fountain City, Wisconsin, performing a variety of tasks as well as being a house parent for several male students.

Richard enrolled in summer school courses at Union in 1984 to begin working toward his master’s through La Sierra University. This is where he met his future wife and teaching partner, Kayla Wagner.

Following summer school, Richard taught at the Cedar Rapids school for two years. In 1986, he and Kayla, now married, began their 22-year teaching partnership, one year in Joplin, Missouri, and the remainder in Moberly, where they’ve taught together since 1987.

“Richard has provided stability for the Maranatha SDA School that is rarely seen in small schools in the North American Division,” said Dr. Joe Allison, conference superintendent. “He has touched so many lives and been an inspiration to us all.”

Richard expressed appreciation to local leadership of the Maranatha SDA School, the Moberly Church, and conference leadership for support he received throughout his career. His plans include continuing to support the Maranatha SDA School, giving greater attention to his large garden, and taking on more building and landscaping projects around their property.