This week, the Scotland County school system marked the retirement of educators with more than 350 years of combined experience in public schools.
Of the 19 school employees retiring this summer, many of them 30-year school system veterans, 17 attended a luncheon held in their honor on Monday. Of this year’s retirees, two are elementary school principals with 30 years’ experience in Scotland County: South Scotland’s Patricia Gates and Pate-Gardner’s Melody Snead.
“I looked through the schools in Scotland County that these ladies have been in, and the neat thing is that they’ve both spent their entire careers in Scotland County schools,” said Andy Cagle, the school system’s public information officer. “It would be easier for me to name the schools they haven’t been in than the schools they’ve been in.” Assistant Superintendent Cindy Goodman, herself a longtime school system employee, spoke of her personal and professional experiences with both Snead and Gates.
“In Pat’s final year at South Scotland, she was so determined and insistent that South Scotland could do better and do more, that she made it her business to see that that school improved, to the point where she decided to be not only the principal but the curriculum facilitator,” Goodman said. “I think she would have taught the children if she could have managed that as well.” Scotland High School will see five of its teachers retire this year: Carolina Caddell, Larry Lee, Osbin Currin, Lawrence Wall, and Fred Thomas. Scotland High Assistant Principal David Johnson spoke of the influence the latter three have had upon his development as an educator.
“I came to Scotland my first year as a science teacher; Mr. Wall was there also as a science teacher,” Johnson said. “We were actually side-by-side and every day he would be at the door, same stature, same smile, and just cool every day. We would just chat and talk about different things - I learned a lot from his mannerism and the way he talked to the kids and treated them.” Wall has been with the Scotland County school system for 20 years, Thomas six, Lee nine, Currin nine, and Caddell 30.
Wagram Primary School will bid farewell to technology teacher Delia Muse and 30-year school system veteran Carolyn Wood.
“I’ve had people coming in and out of my office asking ‘What are you going to do?’ because these are two of the most organized people on the planet, not just at the school,” said Wagram Principal Jamie Synan.
Retirees from school food service are Deborah Chafin, retiring from Spring Hill after 20 years with the school system, Earlene Clark retiring from Sycamore Lane after 25 years in the school system, and Joe Ann McNeill, retiring from North Laurinburg after 33 years in the school system.
Johnnie Morrison, who has served as custodian at Shaw Academy and at Wagram Primary, is retiring after six years in the schools. Retirees also include two members of Carver’s teaching staff: teacher’s assistant Earlene McLeod and Sharon Ward, who has spent 32 years teaching in Scotland County.
“I know the students have learned a lot from you; hopefully they paid attention to you along the way, and your experience will be missed,” Superintendent Rick Stout said to all the retirees. “It’s hard to fill those voids when we have people of your experience leaving, because more than likely we’ll be filling them with somebody new, who will have to have those experiences all over again.”
At North Laurinburg Elementary, longtime teacher Mary Gibson is retiring, and Don Snelgrove will retire as a teacher at I.E. Johnson after 25 years in the school system.