On January 12, 2014, Agnes Zhelesnik turned 100 and is believe to be the oldest working school teacher in the country. She was born in Thomas West Virginia on January 12, 1914. She was one of 5 children born to Lithuanian immigrants. During the Great Depression she had to leave school and work for only $16 a week to help her family.
Zhelesnik now works in North Plainfield, New Jersey as a Home Economics teacher where she instructs her students on how to cook and sew. She began her career at the school in 1995 at the age of 81.
Zhelesnik has three children and four great grand children. She was married to her husband for 61 years before he died in 1999. Her grand daughter Nina Lord said “She’s is just the happiest person, and stress free, and enjoys life, that’s really it – simple.”
The school celebrated her birthday by throwing her a party and students performed The Little Mermaid and sang Happy Birthday to her. Zhelesnik does not believe she will retire any times soon and she said she will continue to work as long as she is well enough. She believes her students would miss her if she was not in the kitchen.