Recently retired teachers and faculty members were honored for their many years of dedicated service to the community’s youth at Monday night’s Cleveland Board of Education meeting.
Each teacher received a warm send-off speech by their respective principals.
Former Blythe-Bower Principal Kelly Kiser, who is now at Mayfield Elementary, recognized RuthAnna Goldston, Patsy Plumley and Jennifer Nelson.
He hailed each one as being a huge benefit to the Cleveland City Schools system and Blythe-Bower especially.
Plumley spent 34 years with Cleveland City Schools.
“The thing I remember the most about Ms. Plumley is she is just very conscientious about the job,” Kiser said. “She wanted to do everything perfectly.”
Goldston spent 35 years with Cleveland City Schools, primarily with the fourth grade.
Kiser said Goldston had a tremendous heart for children.
“I can remember a specific case where we told a young man if he did not stop misbehaving, then he would not be able to go on a trip. And he didn’t stop misbehaving so we told him he could not go on the trip,” Kiser said. “After that she kept working with him, and kept working and kept working.”
Finally, Goldston came to Kiser’s office. With tears in her eyes she told him the student had become so much better, “I think he needs to go on that trip.”
Kiser shared that Nelson spent 22 years in the school system, primarily with the first grade. She has reportedly been Blythe-Bower’s teacher of the year on multiple occasions. Nelson has even received the nickname “The Child Whisperer” by Kiser.
“You could go into her room and it would be just calm. Everyone was on task,” Kiser said. “She is just a tremendous teacher.”
Former Mayfield Elementary Principal DeeDee Finison introduced Ethel Cooper to the board. She said she could not remember a time Cooper was not working with her students.
Students were No. 1 for Cooper. Her commitment to her students was reflected in their positive reaction to her and in their test scores.
“Every year, she would bake her students homemade bread for a Christmas present,” Finison said. Finison said that even after Cooper left, whenever former students saw her they would ask for some of her homemade bread.
Added Finison, “Her expertise and her kindness with children will really be missed.”
Stuart Elementary Principal Randall Stephens continued the praise of recent retirees.
He declared Pam Silver to be the Queen Bee of teacher’s assistants.
“You could go down to that workroom near the end of the day ... and anything we would take in and say, ‘We need a little help with this,’ she would say, ‘Bring it on over. We will get to it,’” Stephens said. “She just set the example for what a teacher’s assistant should do.”
Fellow Stuart retiree Jane Littlejohn said she has been an educator for 27 years, 15 spent with CCS and Stuart.
She taught fifth grade for 10 years.
“The age is a wonderful age of students to teach and Stuart is a wonderful school to be at,” Littlejohn said. “It has a wonderful family atmosphere, supportive teachers and wonderful administrators.”
Stephens reported Littlejohn’s rapport with students was always excellent. He said she set a great example for other teachers.
Littlejohn said people may not realize the challenges teachers face.
“... You have a lot of things to consider because you are teaching a human being. It is about a lot of things curriculum-wise, but also human-wise,” Littlejohn said. “You need the balance to be a successful teacher.”
Former E.L. Ross Principal Doug Moore read a glowing review for Joy Beacham written by current Principal Lisa Earby who was unable to attend.
Earby described Beacham, who spent 38 years at E.L. Ross, as someone who could see the silver lining in almost any situation.
“Ms. Beacham has supported students, teachers and administration through many changes, especially over the last several years,” Moore read. “... Ms. Beacham’s sense of humor, passion, and compassion have played an integral part in the success of many people.”
Moore said Beacham was one of the cornerstones of the school when he first arrived at E.L. Ross.
Audrea McBrayer, bookkeeper at the main administrative building, was recognized by Brenda Carson.
“When she came our kids were in elementary school together, and now our grandkids are in elementary school together,” Carson said. “So Audrey is retiring, we wish her the best and we appreciate your service to Cleveland City Schools.”
Each teacher received a certificate and a check.
Teachers and staff unable to make it to the event included Susan Tindal, CHS librarian; Janet Demastus, Blythe-Bower speech/language pathologist; and Cindy Patton, Blythe-Bower resource teacher.