Welcome home, Carol Czerw
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – Peggy “Carol” Czerw tried to leave the educational field when she retired from the Shelby County school system in 1997. When she was offered the first of many jobs overseas, however, she continued her career in education across the globe.
Czerw moved to Montevallo from Dallas County in 1983 with her young daughter. A math and science teacher, the single mom said she always taught at the high-school level, regardless of the country.
When her daughter graduated from high school, Czerw attended a job fair and received nine job offers overseas. She also applied with the Department of Defense Education Activity.
“I had done everything I could think to do and wanted to do in Shelby County. Shelby County was good to me. I really enjoyed working here,” Czerw said.
“You get an itch sometimes to do something different. I retired and was not going back into education, but every time I turned around, it was there,” she added. “I thought, ‘If I’m going to do something in education, I’m going to do something way out there and see the world a little bit.’”
Czerw’s first overseas job took her to the Middle East.
“That was an adventure,” she said. “A single woman in an Arab country. I’m glad I did it, but wouldn’t do it again. Been there done that.”
In 1998, Czerw was hired by DoDEA to teach science in Zama, Japan. The DoDEA school system is the largest system in the world, and it offers an “American style education to military dependants in an overseas environment,” Czerw said. She taught until 2000 when she became an assistant principal for Seoul American Middle School in South Korea.
The science teacher’s global career then took her to Okinawa, Japan; Osan Air Base, South Korea; Wiesbaden, Germany and back to Okinawa, Japan. She retired in 2011 as the deputy superintendent of the Okinawa, Japan District.
In July 2011, Czerw decided to move back to Montevallo to be closer to her daughter.
“It was tempting to return to the south of France, but I think of Montevallo as home because I raised my daughter here. Montevallo’s home to both of us.”
Czerw said she still intends to travel to see friends she’s made throughout her life, but wants to settle in Shelby County.
“I’m trying to sort out everything I brought from three continents. I’m trying to get settled and reacclimated to the culture,” she said. “I know that sounds silly because I worked here a long, long time, but when you’re away for 50 years, it’s strange to come back.”