Taylor and Pokorney retire from Ignacio School District

Dr. Kathy Pokorney, Vice-chairman Cheryl Frost, Chairman Christine Sage, and Melanie Taylor stand together at Ute Park on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Southern Ute Chairman Christine Sage presents retiree, Melanie Taylor with a Pendleton blanket.
Melanie Taylor (left) worked for the Ignacio School District since 1986, and Dr. Pokorney since 2001. Together the retirees have a combined tenure of 54 years with the Ignacio School District.
Former Ignacio School Superintendent Juvie Jones was in attendance and posed for a photo with retirees, Melanie Taylor and Dr. Kathy Pokorney.
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, the Southern Ute Education Department and Southern Ute Tribal Council recognized two retirees from the Ignacio School District, Melanie Taylor and Dr. Kathy Pokorney.

Southern Education Director LaTitia Taylor, introduced both retirees to Southern Ute Tribal Council, Vice-Chairman Cheryl Frost and Chairman Christine Sage at Ute Park during a small ceremony.

LaTitia Taylor said, “we want to thank you for being there for our children and our children’s children. Melanie Taylor has been working for the Ignacio School District since 1986, and Dr. Pokorney since 2001. Together they have 54 years of combined experience within the Ignacio School District.

Chairman Sage first thanked Melanie Taylor, for being there for her children and all the children in the community and wished her well in her retirement. “I want to thank you for educating our Native children, for that makes my heart feel good,” Sage said.

Melanie Taylor thanked Chairman Sage and expressed how it’s been her privilege to be in this culture. “That has taught our kids tolerance,” Melanie Taylor said.

Vice-chairman Frost spoke of the level of experience and the commitment Melanie Taylor has brought to the community, “I know a lot of the kids will miss you,” Frost said. “You have left a footprint and handprint of yourself in this community, and everyone is better for knowing you,” added Frost.

“Miss T” as she’s known by her students throughout her 34 years in the Ignacio schools, Melanie Taylor has been a teacher, a varsity volleyball coach, a coach for junior high track, Athletic Director, assistant Principal, and Principal at the Ignacio High School.

“I had plans to travel, since Covid hit, it shut everything down, but I had plans to lobby against sex-trafficking in the schools,” Melanie Taylor said. “I want to advocate for the kids on that platform, to be a positive role model to the kids.” Melanie Taylor added.

Chairman Sage said Dr. Pokorney has always been compassionate and considerate of the Native students, and wished her well on her retirement with her family and her husband.

Vice-chairman Frost spoke of Dr. Pokorney’s time in the Ignacio School system, “I know you to be passionate, and you truly had found your calling, and wish you well in the next phase of your life,” Frost said.

Dr. Pokorney thanked Frost and Sage, “Ignacio has always been a special place to me,” Pokorney said.

“I am going to enjoy being retired, we are going to Arizona,” Pokorney said. “We have lot of options, and her husband said, ‘just give it some time.’” Pokorney added.

Dr. Pokorney served as the Intermediate Principal for 14 years and stepped into the role of acting Superintendent while the District’s Superintendent Rocco Fuschetto was out on sick leave.

Chairman Christine Sage, presented both Melanie Taylor and Dr. Pokorney with a Pendleton blanket embroidered with the Southern Ute Tribal Seal, the teacher’s names, and years of service.

As the Southern Ute Tribe is under a Stay at Home order and social distancing is still being enforced – family, friends, co-workers and those in attendance viewed the ceremony from their vehicles and honked and cheered as the two retirees were recognized.

In the words of Melanie Taylor, “Every day is a great day to be a Bobcat!”

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