Peggy Rankin helped continue Immanuel Lutheran School practices, such as taking the sixth grade students to the Luther Springs Campground in Hawthorne as part of their outdoor education.

Helping to brighten young minds for over 40 years, Peggy Rankin is officially retiring from her teaching position at Immanuel Lutheran School at the close of the 2022-23 academic year. Having joined the Immanuel Lutheran staff in 1996, Rankin remains appreciative of all the creative opportunities and growth her time at the school offered her.

Receiving a double major in elementary education and physical education from Concordia University Chicago, Rankin began her career by teaching in Wilmington, Illinois. Enjoying the community connections within the small town, she taught middle school P.E. and worked as an athletic director.

After relocating to Tampa Bay, Rankin pursued a fourth grade teaching opportunity at Robles Elementary for a year before settling down at Limona Elementary for three years as a fifth grade teacher. Despite having been awarded teacher of the year during her final year at Limona, Rankin cited a strange twist in fate as the reason for landing a position at Immanuel Lutheran.

While walking across the church grounds after the service one day, Rankin encountered a friend from college who had gone on to teach at Immanuel Lutheran herself. Intending to relocate, her friend suggested Rankin take up her position. At that same moment, the principal of Immanuel Lutheran came down the church steps and extended Rankin an opportunity to interview. Believing it was her time to give back, Rankin accepted the job.

“I do believe God has plans for you,” said Rankin.

Her first few roles at the school ranged from covering seventh grade science, eighth grade math, seventh and eighth grade computer classes and five P.E. courses while helping coach athletics. Within her first year, she established the school’s student council. Further developing a legacy for herself, she also initiated the field day tradition that same year, providing students across various grades the chance to work with one another. Along the way, she eventually became the athletic director, a position she had there for 17 years.

Ultimately becoming a sixth grade homeroom teacher in 2007, Rankin created a classroom treasure box that allowed children to exchange ‘big bucks,’ a reward for completing homework or helping out a fellow student, for a prize. Realizing her students were learning a valuable lesson on how to count and save, she founded Immanuel Lutheran’s superstore and opened it once a month for about 12 years with help from church volunteers and even her own parents.

While looking forward to a retirement spent with her grandchildren and volunteering, she said she will still miss being a part of her students’ ‘lightbulb’ moments.

“The thrill that you get when you’re teaching a student and they get it. All of a sudden, the lightbulb goes on, and they’re like ‘oh’ — I will miss that,” said Rankin. “Because that’s really joyful.”

Rankin’s colleagues have currently created a Kudoboard for members of the community to post send-off messages. Those interested can find the page by visiting Additionally, Rankin looks forward to seeing past students and their families at her retirement party on Saturday, May 20 from 1-5 p.m. in the Immanuel Lutheran gym.

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