Walters calls it a career after three inspiring decades


Mariah Schroht

Mr. Walters works with a student during study hall

Jonny Clubb, Writer

Mr. Dean Walters has been a mainstay in the OHS social studies department for 23 years, but after the 2020-21 school year, OHS will wish him a happy retirement. Mr. Walters began his teaching career in 1987 in Pine River, MN and then moved on to Jackson, MN. After that, Mr. Walters found a job at OHS in 1998 and has been here ever since. Mr. Walters was drawn to Owatonna for a number of reasons. He said, “I had some friends, Mr. Sullivan and Mrs. Sullivan, who taught here at the time. They’re the ones who said there’s an opening. Obviously, we’re really close to the deaf school in Faribault, and my teaching job here. So, I got the best of both worlds.” Being close to Faribault was convenient for Mr. Walters because he has a deaf son.

Mr. Walters has been in and around southern Minnesota for nearly his whole life. After growing up in Good Thunder, MN, he graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris, had a couple of other teaching jobs in the area and then settled in Owatonna in 1998. In his over two decades at OHS Mr. Walters has taught classes ranging from American history to psychology to economics courses, though his favorite class to teach is world religions.  Blowing the Shafar is one of many fun activities Mr. Walters does in class. Mr. Walters’s favorite classroom activity, blowing the Shafar, is done during the Jewish unit of that class. Mr. Walters joked, “I’m the best Shafar blaster in the Tri County, by the way.”

Mr. Walters’s interest in social studies was sparked by his own high school social studies teacher Mr. Gary Arman. Mr. Walters said, “I felt like I was in Washington D.C. in his classes. I’ve learned a lot from him about teaching and how to work with students, and having them enjoy the class also. He really pushed the door open for me, so when I still see Mr. Arman today I tell him that you know you’re kind of the one that got me into teaching and eventually really enjoy it and the rest is history.” Many students have enjoyed Walters’ classes in the same way. Senior Econ student Chris Gebhart said, “Mr. Walters takes a more energetic approach to his lessons. He likes to have some fun in there as well.”

Alongside teaching, Walters has been involved as an adviser and coach in many activities. He has been the adviser of mock trial and coached boys basketball and boys lacrosse, while continuing to coach football.Mr. Walters said, “Working with the student athletes out on the football field or lacrosse field or the basketball court, you’re teaching there too, interacting and listening and helping and that’s all part of that whole umbrella of teaching in my opinion. Plus you get to see kids on a different level, not just in the classroom.” Mr. Walters will stay on as a football coach as he heads into retirement.

Looking ahead to retirement, Mr. Walter doesn’t have any big plans, but says he plans on golfing a lot more. Business teacher Mr. Scott Pierce said, “It’ll be different around here without him. That’s for sure. He’s just got that personality.” Mr. Pierce isn’t alone in that feeling as many will miss their daily interactions with Mr. Walters, but OHS wishes him a very happy retirement nonetheless.