Occupational therapist Doyle leaves district after 31 years of service
June 8, 2023
Michelle Doyle observed an occupational therapist at work back when she was attending Worland High School and found a calling. Now, she has helped 31 years' worth of Worland students as an OT for Washakie County School District No. 1, bidding her last classes goodbye in her retirement this year.
"I was always a Wyoming fan, even when I went to school in Colorado," Doyle said. She attended the University of Wyoming for her prerequisites and continued to cheer on the brown and gold from Colorado State University while receiving her bachelor's. She had internships in hospital and rehabilitations settings, and decided she would like to work with kids. A job opened up for an OT in her hometown of Worland in 1992, and she took it. The only OT in the district, Doyle worked with kids from kindergarten through high school, focusing on developing their skills to make their education easier.
Some of her favorite activities with her students were fine motor skills-based, playing "ants in the pants" and feeding tennis balls with slits cut in them. Doyle said that education has been constantly changing over the course of her career, and one of the things she misses is the play-based work that used to be the focus of kindergarten, where students are now expected to read and write.
While working for the school, Doyle has simultaneously worked as an OT for Children's Resource Center in Wyoming, which will continue to keep her busy after her retirement from the district. She has also been involved in the Washakie County 4-H program since her son was involved with it and plans to continue helping kids work on their shooting skills. "We'll keep doing it until it's not fun anymore, but it has always been fun," Doyle said.
In retirement, Doyle plans to continue to explore the mountains she has always called home. Her love for Worland and Wyoming runs deep, and she hopes to explore the nooks and crannies most people don't get to see with her newfound free time.
Doyle said she hopes her students will continue to work hard on their education, because it's all worth it in the end.
"I truly believe anyone can learn anything," she said.