District educator receives Hall of Fame Award
MUNCY – Carla Auten is someone who wears many hats. She has been a pro-active lifelong resident, received many awards, served on boards, but most importantly, she likes to give back to her community. She cares, and her dire passion, concerns, and relationships all express her need to help others. This became evident when Auten was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Warrior Run School District on Saturday, October 10, 2015.
“I am lucky,” she said, “and fortunate.” Going back to her childhood, she replied that growing up as an only child and working in her parent’s business, Fern Park restaurant, taught her many things. “My parents taught me well. They taught me the 5 R’s – Reading, (W)riting, (A)rithmatic, Respect and Respnsibilty.”
Carla grew up in Delaware Township and went to a two room school. It was a small brick building on Rt. 54 known as East District School. This experience became her inspiration to become a teacher. Children were placed together on multi-levels, all subject areas and one teacher averaging 8 to 12 students per grade. Grades one through three were separated from grades four through six by a pocket door. “We had no running water and outside toilets,” she said. During that time, Carla saw the need to help her fellow classmates get caught up, especially when the schools consolidated to become Warrior Run School District.
Carla remarked, “I felt well prepared for academics at this point.” When she graduated in 1964, she had 130 classmates with long time friendships to this day.
Auten who was born to Eleanor and Eddie Overhiser continued her academic career at Bloomsburg University majoring in special education, married Harold Auten, got a master’s degree and took her first teaching job at Williamsport School District. The Auten’s made their first home together in Muncy on S. Main Street, and proudly admits to being a Muncy resident her entire life. She and Harold raised two sons in the Muncy area and loved to go hunting and fishing together as a family. “Muncy is very welcoming,” added Carla.
During her acceptance speech at a recognition banquet during homecoming weekend for Warrior Run’s Hall of Fame Award, Auten reflected back on how women had no sports to be recognized for, nor athletic hall of fames. “Because we didn’t have sports!” she explained. Not until 1972 did the schools introduce performance sports for girls. Auten said she did achieve a state driving rodeo championship while in high school. “But it was unheard of for a girl to be in first place!” Held at Penn State she said that the registration desk had her processed as “Carl” and not “Carla.” “There was never a female place winner for this before, and they did not know what to do.”
As a special education teacher, Auten taught all grade levels. She was employed at Muncy School District until her retirement in 2003. “I had a lot of different titles.” Her main objective was teaching the student on how to learn and to help them understand. She also mentioned getting correspondence from former students. Most recently she heard from someone who couldn’t thank her enough for helping him when he was experiencing problems. He is now a successful business owner. “I loved finding out what strategy to use to make kids successful. It was a constant change,” she said of her 35 years of education. She also taught at Susquehanna University in 2003 and remained a consultant until 2013.
Auten’s list of accomplishments include being a finalist for PA Teacher of the Year in 1998, a recipient of the North Central PA ASCD Curriculum and Supervision Award, and inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
She has presented numerous educational workshops, obtained education grants and funding sources for Muncy School District, and maximized instruction for teachers on a national level. She presented her findings on learning styles at the National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence conference in South Carolina where she met President Clinton.
In the early 80’s Auten served on Muncy Borough Council and has also spent the last ten years serving on the Muncy School Board. She has been Treasurer since 2011.
Her interest in the Muncy community is ongoing. She is a member and officer of the Lycoming County Chapter of PA Association of School Retirees, and President of the Huntersville/Pennsdale Senior Citizens group. “I like to drive the elderly to the meetings,” she added. Other organizations she has helped include the Salvation Army, Cub Scouts, Little League Baseball and her local church.
Along the way, Carla reminded us how she misses her school family and their support. “They helped make me successful in what I did.”
Married for 48 years, she and her husband continue to reside in Muncy Township. However, they like to visit their two sons, Garth who lives in Mechanicsburg and Brian who resides in North Carolina as often as they can.