Impact of 90 school retirees: priceless

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Sarah Nagem
Salisbury Post
Rowan-Salisbury Schools honored retiring employees Thursday with a banquet at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.
Here’s a glimpse of the people who have educated children, served as mentors and made lasting impressions on young minds.Number of retirees: 90
Combined years of education experience: More than 2,000
Average number of years with Rowan-Salisbury Schools: 20
Why one teacher is retiring young:”Thirty years,” says Jane Webb, 53, an eighth-grade teacher at Erwin Middle. “Thirty years is a long time.”
Fondest memories (and what they’ll miss most):The kids.
“The children ó that’s what I enjoyed,” says Carol Pepper, 62, a food-service manager at Landis Elementary for 15 years. Before that, Pepper worked as a substitute teacher for 21 years.
Alan Hardy, 55, is retiring after 22 years with Rowan-Salisbury. He works as a counselor at China Grove Elementary.
Hardy recalls a recent special moment. “A kindergarten child grabbed me around the legs and said, ‘I wish you were my daddy.’ ”
– In retirement: “I’m going to work more with my church,” says Willie Boyd, 65, a fourth-grade teacher at Granite Quarry Elementary. Boyd has worked with the local schools about 30 years.
Her family chimed in that Boyd will also spend more time with her grandchildren.
They can hope so, Boyd says.
– Words from the superintendent:Dedicated people are the ones who go the extra mile, says Dr. Judy Grissom. They do what they’re supposed to “and then some.”
“This describes the everyday life of educators,” Grissom says. You have made a difference in the everyday lives of children ó and then some.”
– Employee retiring with the most years of service:Gary Rhyne, 65, a sixth-grade teacher at Corriher-Lipe Middle, 43 years.A native of Rowan County, Rhyne started teaching in Warren County after college. In 1966, he took a job at Dunbar High School in East Spencer.
When Rowan’s schools integrated a year later, he started teaching at Landis Elementary. After five years, he decided to earn a master’s degree from Appalachian State University.
From there, Rhyne spent part of his teaching career travelling. He taught students of U.S. military members in Japan, Korea and Germany.
After a stint teaching in New York City, Rhyne returned to Rowan County as a teacher in 1998.
“Here I am 10 years later,” Rhyne says.
He will be missed at Corriher-Lipe, says Beverly Pugh, principal.
“I’ve never seen someone so dedicated to his profession,” Pugh says.
Rhyne often stays late at school, sometimes till 6 or 7, preparing the next day’s lessons. It’s all part of the job, he says.
But soon Rhyne won’t have to worry about grading papers and making lesson plans.
“I’m going to forget about a schedule and make my own schedule,” he says.

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