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Long Career

CSI Professor Wraps up 42-year Career

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CSI physical education professor Jan Mittleider, left, hugs Over 60 and Getting Fit participant Virginia Hansen.

TWIN FALLS • After 42 years of teaching at the College of Southern Idaho, physical education professor Jan Mittleider led one last high-energy class Friday.

Once it was over, participants in the Over 60 and Getting Fit program lined the perimeter of the basket-ball court in the gymnasium.

They listened as Mittleider — the longest-serving instructor in CSI’s history — shared memories of her time at the college. She’s retiring at the end of the school year.

“CSI has been the best thing that’s happened to the Magic Valley since irrigation,” she told the crowd.

Mittleider will be the keynote speaker during CSI’s graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday at the CSI gym.

She started her career at the college in 1970.

She told the Times-News that she originally only planned to stay for one year. But she ended up teaching hundreds of classes over more than four decades.

About 30 years ago, she had an idea to create a program to improve the health of older men and women. That idea became the popular Over 60 and Getting Fit program.

It’s one of the largest classes through CSI, with about 1,000 participants in 10 locations throughout the Magic Valley.

The program — which has won several national awards — has taken Mittleider from coast to coast as a wellness speaker.

During her retirement celebration Friday, she assured participants that the program will continue on with new leaders.

Mittleider told the crowd that she’s learned every phase of life brings new possibilities, and she’s been inspired by her students over 60 years old.

“Chronological age doesn’t mean that much,” she said.

This week, the program participants did physical fitness testing. Some people, she said, tested 20 years younger than their biological age.

The crowd cheered after Mittleider recalled one couple who thought they’d have to move into an assisted-living center, but ended up going to Europe instead.

“It’s never too late to have some wonderful possibilities,” she said.

Program participant Faye Hubsmith said after the ceremony that she’s been part of the program for five years and said Mittleider is “wonderful.”

“We’ve made a lot of friends here,” she said.

In retirement, Mittleider plans to continue her involvement with CSI and community organizations.

While at CSI, she received numerous awards for excellence in teaching as well as community service recognition. She also serves on the Idaho Commission on the Arts and has been a master trainer for Idaho’s Fit and Fall Proof program.

During her retirement celebration, CSI employees presented Mittleider with a wooden bench signed by participants in the Over 60 and Getting Fit program.

“I love you to pieces,” she told the crowd.

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