BLANKET — Can a veteran educator actually retire if teaching is in his or her blood?
At some point, yes.
Ricky Holmsley was a teacher and girls basketball coach at Blanket High School when he retired at the end of the 2015 school year.
Holmsley couldn’t stay away, and he returned to his old job in the fall of 2016. Holmsley is this week’s Teacher of the Week, a series the Bulletin will run throughout the school year after debuting the series in the 2018-’19 school year.
“I did retire in 2015 and I stayed out a year, and then I came back,” Holmsley said during his conference period recently in his Blanket High School classroom, where he teaches social studies. Holmsley also teaches junior high social studies.
“I missed the kids,” Holmsley said. “I missed being around the people who work here — great group of people, the staff and faculty. I missed being around here and missed coaching my kids.
“It was in my blood to be teaching.”
Holmsley went on to coach girls basketball for another year after his return, but has stepped out of that role. He has continued in his role as the Blanket High School tennis coach.
Holmsley, a Comanche native, has been in education 33 years, including 12 years in Blanket. He previously taught and coached in Meridian and Blooming Grove.
Holmsley said he was drawn into education after having a mother and two sisters as educators. Holmsley also said he was influenced in that direction by his Priddy basketball coach.
“I think it’s just the kids,” Holmsley said, explaining what draws him to education. “They keep you young. I enjoy working with the kids. I hope when it’s all said and done, I’ve left them with some sort of life skills they can keep, and at the same time I hope they had fun doing that.”
Holmsley and his wife, Melanie, are the parents of two grown sons, Jeremy and Trey, and a daughter, Kenna, who is in middle school in Comanche.
The Holmsleys also are the adoptive parents of a 3-year-old boy. The year Holmsley was retired, he and his wife served as foster parents.
“And in that year, this little boy came up for adoption and we just adopted him,” Holmsley said.
With his year-long retirement behind him, Holmsley said he is “absolutely glad to be here.”
Holmsley was reluctant to speculate on how long he’ll continue to coach and teach before retiring for good.
“I hope I can make it three or four more years,” Holmsley said.