As He Retires, Principal Shares
Memories and Buses
Dann Dodd completes 41 years in education, 27 with church

Communications assistant, Northern California Conference
s he prepared to retire after 41 years in education, Lodi Adventist Elementary Principal Dann Dodd assembled more than a collection of memories: he has school buses—a whole office full.
Dodd’s office neatly showcases more than 500 different school bus items: toys, cookie jars, mugs, pictures, salt shakers, lunch boxes, calendars, stamps, and more. One of his favorite items is an intricate toy with five moving parts; another is a pair of school bus high top sneakers.
PRINCIPAL RETIRES: Dann Dodd, right, principal of the Lodi Adventist Elementary School. He’s retiring after 41 years in education, of which 27 were spent in Adventist schools.
Years ago, Dodd was browsing through an Illinois antique shop when a decorative metal bus caught his eye. He paid $15 for it, and his collection officially began. After he became principal of Napa Junior Academy in 1991, he started actively collecting—going to flea markets and yard sales and purchasing items for 25 cents or a dollar. Later, eBay expanded the scope of his hobby.
Through the years, gifts from friends, family, and students added to the display. “About two to three years ago, I stopped collecting, but I still get 10-15 [gifts] a year,” he said.
Recently, Dodd was surprised and touched when his collection was able to help a grieving mother. A friend of his knew a woman whose four-year-old daughter had passed away. The mother had been looking for an urn in the shape of a school bus to hold her daughter’s ashes, but she wasn’t able to find anything. Dodd invited the woman to look through his office and take anything she wanted. Since her little girl had loved Elmo, the woman chose a school bus lunch box with a Sesame Street theme. Dodd calls the opportunity to help her “a nice way to end my collection.”
Although some have encouraged him to sell his school buses, Dodd decided to donate them to the Northern California Conference (NCC) Education Department, where the collection will be on display at conference headquarters. “I am honored that it will be there,” he said.
 BUS COLLECTION: Over the years, Dodd amassed a collection of miniature school buses and memorabilia, which will be donated to the Northern California Conference headquarters for permanent display. [PHOTOS: Jenny Silvestri]
Dodd has served as principal at five Adventist schools. He was a public grade school principal living in Rochester, Minnesota, when he and his wife, Norma, invited their new neighbors to attend their Lutheran church. The Adventist neighbors offered to study the Bible with the couple. Eventually, the Dodds were baptized into the Adventist church, and he started working in Adventist education in 1982.
Now a widower, Dodd plans to live an active retirement—volunteering, spending time with his children and grandchildren, maybe getting a part-time job. “You need to be mentally and physically active,” he said.
What will he miss most after retirement? “The kids—that’s what it’s all about. Reacting with them, watching them grow spiritually, academically, musically; just watching them grow.”
“Dann has made a significant contribution to Adventist education,” said NCC Education superintendent Berit von Pohle. “His years of experience have been characterized by his caring for students, teachers and families. He'll be remembered for all his school buses and so much more.”

                                                                                    --Reprinted, with permission, from the Pacific Union Recorder


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