Rita Watson celebrates 50 years as State of Wyoming employee

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KGWN) One Department of Education employee has worked with every superintendent since the mid-1970’s. Rita Watson has worked for the State of Wyoming for five decades. Watson started with the Department of Health in 1969 and has been with the Department of Education since 1974.

“I can’t believe it’s been 50 years, I really can’t,” said Rita Watson.

Watson says on her very first day, those 50 years ago, she was just excited and amazed she had gotten the job. On Nov. 4, Watson was surprised as a conference room was named after her with a plaque hanging right outside the room that reads, “In Honor of Rita Watson For Her Service to the State of Wyoming Dedicated Wyoming 2019.” Watson explained Superintendent Jillian Balow was being recognized that week and she thought the surprise gathering of people was to celebrate Superintendent Balow but when she realized the party was all for her, Rita says she couldn’t believe it.

“The hairs on my neck stood up because I said ‘Oh my goodness I cannot believe this,’” said Watson. “It was awesome. I felt so honored, so special, so, so appreciated. It was just wonderful, all of the nice things [Superintendent Balow] said and all of the people who came from all around the city and probably out of state.”

Watson says the past month has been a whirlwind as she and her husband had lunch with Gov. Mark Gordon and First Lady Gordon, the conference room dedication in Watson’s honor, and she was profiled in a project called “Women of Wyoming.” Throughout it all, Watson says she wakes up every morning excited to go to work.

“I keep telling everybody that the funeral director is going to pick me up at my desk and they’ll be the ones that call my husband and just say ‘You need to come down here and claim this body,” said Watson. “I do, I love it. I absolutely love it.”