FIRTH – Major changes are in the works for the Firth School District as they will need to fill some big shoes left by Sid and Tina Tubbs. The couple combined boast 74 years of educator experience and have held many roles during their service-oriented careers.
Their story starts with Sid completing his bachelor’s degree at Idaho State University before he returned to their hometown of Palmer, Alaska, to start as teacher and coach at the high school he graduated from. Sid took the job as a physical education teacher and the junior varsity football coach. Not long after, Tina would start her education at ISU, working on her teaching degree, so Sid followed her back to Pocatello where he took a teaching job at Alameda Middle School.
During this time, Tina and Sid were married and blessed with their first child on the way. Little did they know that they had twins on the horizon. Tina would finish the spring semester with two newborn children. They would quickly have a third just one year later, and the five of them would be on the move again shortly. The two discussed moving back to Alaska to raise their family and teach but decided against it as they did not want to live village life with young children.
Tina taught two years in Lava, two years at Alameda, before starting her years in Firth. Tina has worked many different jobs in the world of education, including state-related positions. Meanwhile, during the same time as her years in Alameda, Sid was teaching in the Pocatello district as well. He spent seven years at Alameda and continued looking for a coaching position. Sid has a real love for sports and enjoys coaching.
In 1991, the two of them would make the last move across the area, moving to Firth where Sid was offered the job as a teacher, girls’ basketball coach, and eventually become the coach for the softball team after aiding in fostering the program. The fledgling program would do remarkably well, making state in its second season. Sid has coached girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, softball, track, and football. He has been a coach for more than 20 years during his educational career; he is a life-long coach.
During the same time, Tina would become a special education instructor and later would become the director of the program in Firth. She absolutely loved the program. Sid would also fall in love with the program, sending him back to school to work on his special education degree. Tina would then return for her master’s degree, then Sid would achieve his master’s. Tina would start on a doctorate but did not complete it. Sid would finish his search for high education once he completed his Educational Specialist Degree, which he would then use to become the Superintendent of the Firth School District.
Their children would grow up in the Firth School District with mom and dad as teachers. Sid at one point had their three oldest children in the same US Government class. He went on to explain that they never had to worry about their children getting in trouble because if they did, the other instructors and students made sure to let them know. He even chuckled, explaining that if they did not hear about it from the teachers or students, their siblings would let the cat out of the bag, or he would hear, “Mom, dad, I have something I have to tell you.” He joked that they would tell on themselves before allowing someone else to tell on them.
Both Tina and Sid served as instructors and administrators. Tina spent some time as the elementary school principal before moving into her state positions. After she vacated the position, it would not be long before Sid took the reigns as the principal from 2003-2006. He would then move on to be the superintendent of the Firth district.
He would later make a sacrifice that his colleagues do not easily forget; in 2008, there was a state-wide spending freeze and required holdbacks similar to what the state is facing this year. Sid opted in to have the same pay cut as his teachers under him and instead of filling the vacant principal position at the elementary, he would serve double duty for no extra pay. He would serve as the superintendent and elementary school principal for the next eight years before they would finally hire a full-time principal. Sid explained that he loved doing both jobs because he felt more connected with what was going on in the schools at the time and he was back to doing what he loved, working with the students.
Both Tina and Sid would express how grateful they were to be able to be involved in their children’s education. In fact, not being involved in the education process of the leaders of tomorrow will be one of the hardest parts for the two of them, they love working with children. Tina noted that it has been difficult not having the children in the classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I have missed the kids badly,” she said.
Sid was eligible to retire last August but decided that the year was about to start, and he would do one more year. During this time, he could have never guessed how it would have changed.
“It was time for a change; 41 years of teaching and administration, it was time to retire,” Sid stated.
He noted that it has been amazing to see the changes over the years.
“When I first started teaching, there were no computers in the classrooms,” he stated. Now, computers are what they are using to teach with, especially during these times. Sid also thanked the Firth School District for embracing technology for educational purposes.
“Our kids are coming out ahead of the game and teachers are becoming more efficient with the help of technology,” he said.
Tina’s story is a little different. She had no intentions of retiring this year but rather planned on teaching at least two more years. She was certain that she needed two more to be eligible but found out after being ill in late January and early February that she had the time invested to retire after this school year. Tina had worked summers for the Highway Department in the past, and because of the time invested there, it would make her eligible earlier than previously thought. She had a student teacher this spring and felt that with her ailment plaguing her, that the grumpy version of her personality was not what she wanted to be remembered as so she would retire now to prevent that from happening.
When asked separately about what they look forward to doing first in retirement, the two responded with the same answer: “I want to go visit my children.”
The Tubbs’ children live across the country from as far north as Alaska, as close as Downey, and down south to Texas and Oklahoma. They will be busy visiting their children once it is safe to do so. Retirement will be the new normal for the Tubbs family as they learn what it means to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
The Tubbs want everyone to know how thankful they are for bringing them into their family in Firth, and how much they will miss working with the children and parents.