My wife is also a state employed teacher. Your wife has 8% of her income that goes into the pension-type of retirement plan the state has set up for her. The state also places 8% into that pension fund. However, there's a formula that determines your wife's retirement benefits at retirement. She likely won't get everything that she has paid into the "fund". Although it's going to be guaranteed for life, she could very well receive less than what she paid into it.
We both have a separate IRA with Vanguard (Vanguard 2050 fund) that we max out each month. We don't make much money, but we make damn sure those IRA's are maxed out each month. I won't have my job forever and she won't be teaching in public schools forever so we want to have something on the side in addition to whatever we have with our jobs.
I suggest you take a look at Vanguard. Their fees are the lowest in the entire industry (look it up, it's true). Also, you don't have to be a financial expert to figure out what's best for you. Keep it simple and go with a tax-friendly mutual fund. The Vanguard retirement funds are the best options for my wife and I and I have to think that they are the best options for you also. Check them out, you can't go wrong with them. Set it on automatic deposit each month and forget it. As long as you max it out each month, you will have a very decent retirement on that alone - not including whatever your wife will have with the state or whatever job she and you will have.