Harry Geiser: Legendary Math Teacher Decides to Retire


Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Mr. Harry Geiser, NDA’s beloved math teacher, has decided to retire after this final semester. 

I’m trying not to make a big deal out of my retirement, but I would have to stop teaching at some point anyway, and I thought about when, and this seemed like as good a time as any.”

Geiser graduated from Chilton High School in 1962, already wanting to teach his classmates. 

“I had a hard time in Algebra class and got kicked out for telling my teacher that I thought I could do a better job of teaching than he could,” explained Geiser. “He also told me that if I wanted to talk in class that I should become a teacher.”

So he did. 

After high school, he received his undergraduate degree from St. Norbert College and his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-EauClaire. 

He began teaching at Premontre High School in 1966 and afterwards at NDA when it opened in 1990. 

“As far as memories go, I have a lot, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. Perhaps it’s the time our U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, who was from Wisconsin, landed on our football field in a Chinook helicopter on his way to a Lombardi-era Packer game. Our  field was a bit muddy, and the helicopter put huge dents in it that irritated the then maintenance person to no end,” said Geiser. 

“The other memory that comes to mind is winning a state championship in track in 1980,  defeating the then powerhouse Milwaukee Marquette High and all the other Milwaukee Catholic schools. A few years later we hosted the state track meet on our new upgraded track, and I got to meet Lisa (Nett) Schmitt who was a star for Fondulac Springs.” 

As a teacher of Algebra, Calculus, and Geometry, he finds Algebra to be the hardest “since for many students it is the first math class where they have to view numbers in the abstract; x’s and y’s and a^2 + b^2 = c^2.” 

“Calculus is more fun to teach since it unfolds a whole new plane of ideas, some of which students did not even know existed,” said the veteran teacher. 

“I love his classes. They’re always fun because of his jokes,” said senior Mariah Michalski. 

Most students and staff do not realize he also has had experience in English classes.

“I have had ‘fun’ with English classes over the years, usually with ‘speling’ the many ways of using ‘to,’ ’two,’ and ‘too,’ and using the fine mathematical pattern of iambic pentameter. I could teach English, but our English Department would kick me out for heresy,” he said. 

He will most miss the “dynamic of 787 students moving from class to class and the excitement of each new year as it unfolds in August.”

“I will not miss faculty meetings and students who do not try as hard as they could,” he added.

“I plan to move on to other things in the next phase of my life, the first of which is to put new siding on our house and to rid our farm of all the junk that has accumulated over the last 50 years.  We also plan to make trips to various places where our children and grandchildren live and perhaps Canada, Alaska and Cape Columbia. The Geiser Barn will always be here,” he said.

By the same token, a lot of fond memories and thoughts of appreciation will always be at NDA.