Last week, the nation’s oldest teacher celebrated her 102nd birthday, according to the website

Agnes Zhelesnik of Watchung, N.J., began teaching cooking and sewing at the Sundance School, a private pre-kindergarten and elementary school in North Plainfield, N.J., when she was 81. Before that, she had been a homemaker.

While embarking on a career over the age of 80 may not be right or possible for everyone, we congratulate Zhelesnik and the Sundance School for recognizing that age should not be an arbitrary barrier. Individuals who have the ability and the desire to work should be able to make that choice at any age.

Zhelesnik gets a ride to school each day with her daughter, who is an art teacher at the school, according to She works 35 hours a week because, she said, it makes her happy. The students and the other teachers call her Granny. asked her what advice she had for people who want to live to 102.

“Just be happy with what you’re doing,” Zhelesnik said. “You have to like what you’re doing.”

Well said.


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  • Susanna Gaertner January 18, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    How very inspirational! Thanks for sharing this story.
    Makes me optimistic about teaching Pilates into my Platinum years!!