Personality Profile

PCHS teacher Barbara McReynolds ends long 38-year career in education today

By LARRY C. BOWERS larry.bowers@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 3/13/17

With the approach of Easter, it is fitting that Polk County High School English and art teacher Barbara McReynolds is putting all her eggs in one basket today.

Mrs. McReynolds, who’s been …

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Personality Profile

PCHS teacher Barbara McReynolds ends long 38-year career in education today

Posted

With the approach of Easter, it is fitting that Polk County High School English and art teacher Barbara McReynolds is putting all her eggs in one basket today.

Mrs. McReynolds, who’s been described as an institution at the school, will be ending her 38-year career in education (32 at Polk County High) today. She will also be honored with a reception to recognize her many accomplishments.

Also, today in her birthday!

Polk County High School Principal Ron German is the person who related to Mrs. McReynolds as an institution and establishment at his school.

“She’s done as excellent job of training our seniors, and we’re certainly going to miss her,” said German.

In discussing her decision to step down after all these years in education, McReynolds said it is an opportunity to spend more time with her husband, Jim, and the rest of her family. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to, as well as other hopes and dreams,” she said.

The veteran English instructor said she and her husband enjoy building houses, and they will probably be involved in some construction work. The couple are members of Stanfield Baptist Church in Cleveland.

She is also planning to set aside some time for a major project, something on her personal bucket list. “I planned to take a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Land, sometime in the near future,” she said.

Another “big” item in her to-do plans, is enjoying time with twin grandchildren Isabelle and Adon. The youngsters are 6 — almost 7.

McReynolds said her grandmother lived in Polk County, but she grew up in Cleveland. She attended Bradley Central High School, graduating in 1968.

She then attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, obtaining her bachelor’s degree, and later a masters in English Education.

Her first teaching experience was in Murray County, Ga., where she began by teaching junior high science. She later taught English, spending three years at Murray County Junior High.

McReynolds was working on her master’s at the time, and then became qualified to teach in Tennessee. She returned to her hometown, taking a position at Bradley County’s Trewhitt Junior High School.

She then took a break from teaching, with a daughter being born in 1978.

Her daughter, Lucy McReynolds Keller, is also an educator. She teaches math at Tyner High School in Hamilton County, and she and her husband, Aaron, live in Bradley County.

McReynolds said she was away from teaching for more than four years. When she returned, she took a position at Polk County High as an English teacher in 1985.

She has remained in that position since that time, as she has slowly become and institution at the school. She was also instrumental in reviving the school’s art program, which disappeared for a time.

McReynolds was Polk County’s first dual enrollment teacher, another of her accomplishments during her 32 years with the Polk County education family.

She said immediate plans, for herself and her husband, includes some time for spring and yard cleaning, and an extended summer vacation.

McReynolds says she knows she will miss the Polk County High School environment. “I’ve made a lot of friends here, and they’ve become like family,” she said.

Still, she realizes things will carry on without her, and she is thankful that co-teacher Amanda Fugate has agreed to take on the school’s art program, and help it continue to make progress.

She emphasized she really is looking forward to extra time for herself, once she has completed today’s celebration — with the reception, her retirement, and her birthday.

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