The Retirement Love Fest for Y’s Preschool Director Annie Fischer

By Joanne A Calitri   |   August 8, 2023
Montecito Family YMCA Executive Director Michael Yamasaki with retiring Preschool Director Annie Fischer and some of her adoring fans (photo by Joanne A Calitri)

After 31 years of loving what she did, the Montecito YMCA Preschool Director Annie Fischer retired at the end of the school year. She was lauded for her steadfast teaching legacy of children and helping their parents at her retirement party on Wednesday, July 26, held at the outdoor playground area of the Y. 

The event was packed with kids aged three to 73, many bringing bouquets of roses, ceramic potted flower plants, wrapped presents, cards, and most important, each expressed to her their love and thanks. She was seated under the tented table area with a rose gold crown and pageant banner with “Officially Retired” printed on it in gold. Fighting back tears of joy with each face that came to give a hug and take a photo op, she was still in toe with directing kids to the taco truck goodies, the playground inflatable funhouse, and the craft table to make a necklace with colored cheerios – “…remember you get to eat only the broken cheerios!”

Her students over the years included the children of the Y’s Board of Directors, students who are now enrolled at Johns Hopkins, parents whom she taught that enrolled their kids in her classroom, as well as all economic classes and nationalities. Word from the local schools’ teachers is they could always tell a “Miss Annie student.”

Montecito Family YMCA Executive Director Mike Yamasaki commenced the program with a welcome and explained that he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt with flowers, which is a celebration shirt to honor Fischer and the event. He gave the mike to the long line of parents, kids, and fellow teachers who wanted to say their special thanks to Fischer. They acknowledged her many talents, gifts of kindness, parenting, and how, like the movie Inside Out, she found what was best in each child, their gifts, and made it the trajectory of their lives. She was presented with a handmade quilt by the parents and a gift card “for her retirement.” In a special announcement, Yamasaki said that the garden area by the preschool will be named in Fischer’s honor, “…a plaque will be placed here naming the garden after her, and that way she will always be overlooking the school.” 

Teary-eyed, Fischer took the mike to express her thanks for all the love and gifts, promised to keep in touch with everyone, and sang the Carole King song, “If I Didn’t Have You to Wake Up to.”

Seen at the event were Montecito Family YMCA Board Chair Dan O’Keefe with the Sweeney family, Cheryl Bernard, former Office Manager Joyce Schrader, former teacher under Fischer Ruthie Ambriz, former Y admin Janet Langley, Office Manager Amber Mazzacano with the Y’s staff and admin team, event co-chairs Detra Wilson and Melody Delshad, the Foreman family, and Fischer’s family of her husband Greg, daughters Katie and Stephanie with grandkids Logan, Collin,and Emmie Rodriguez.

Fischer was the physical education and after-school sports teacher for all grades at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School for seven years prior to her work at the Y. She shared, “My mom always would tell me, Annie you are a teacher. So, I followed in my late sister Yvonne Rubio’s footsteps. She had taught here at the Y. I started teaching here when she was the director. I soon became the Preschool Director and 31 years later, here I am!”

The MJ thanks and congratulates Annie Fischer on her teaching contributions to our town’s children!



You might also be interested in...