‘Hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’: City welcomes students, honors retirees
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Aug 06, 2014 | 1152 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Retired teachers
RECENTLY RETIRED educator Belinda Henley shook hands with Cleveland Board of Education member Steve Morgan Monday night. Principals from across the city school system presented their recently retired teachers to the board of education on the eve of a new school year. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
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The scamper of hundreds of little feet and the laughter of reunited friends filled the halls of elementary, middle and high schools across the Cleveland City Schools system Tuesday morning, as students shook off summer vacation to return to the classroom.

Teachers introduced themselves and their courses to the mix of sleepy and bright-eyed children. However, a handful of veteran educators from across the school system could not be found in their classrooms or offices.

These retired individuals were recognized at the Cleveland Board of Education monthly meeting Monday night.

Yates Primary Principal Carolyn Ingram thanked Melissa Word for the years of order and service she brought to her classroom. She informed school board members about the many hours that went into Word’s lesson plans in the 39 years she served as an educator.

Arnold Elementary Principal Mike Chai presented longtime employee Melody Buckner to the board.

“Mrs. Buckner has been a quiet and steady force through all of these past years,” he said. “She quietly comes in and works with her students, often doing things that are very difficult.”

He also thanked media specialist Vivian Davis for her years of service at Arnold.

Cleveland Middle Principal Mike Collier introduced Tim Sams to the board.

He said Sams has been an educator for 27 years.

“Tim was a great person on our staff. I wish we had him back,” he said. “He worked with our teen leadership program. He worked with our chess club after school and he worked with our premier art projects.”

Cleveland High School Principal Autumn O’Bryan recognized four of her teachers who chose retirement: Theresa Bledsoe, Belinda Henley, Zandra Morris and Bedford Smith.

She said each one provided stellar service to Cleveland High.

“Theresa has taught French for many years. The one thing I think she is best known for at Cleveland High School is her support of her fellow teachers. She is a very steady, stable, consistent professional,” O’Bryan said. “... Zandra Morris coached so many things. She has been involved in athletics for a long time and really making a difference in the lives of our young athletes.”

Continued O’Bryan, “... I think the thing [Henley] is most remembered for, and the thing we appreciate about her even now, is she is [Raider] Blue through and through. If you are wondering about where a student went, or [their maiden name], she is the person to go to.”

O’Bryan also shared her feelings on the retirement of Smith.

“Three of the current world language teachers were taught by Señor Smith. If you were to survey this community, I think you would find out a lot of folks were taught Spanish by Mr. Smith,” she said. “He did an excellent job.”

She also thanked Linda Parkinson for her work at Cleveland High.

Assistant Director of Schools Cathy Goodman thanked both Paul Ramsey and Kathy Phillips for their work in the school system.

Marsha Wallace of Blythe-Bower Elementary was unable to attend the meeting.

Cleveland City Schools Director Martin Ringstaff requested parents and faculty alike be patient as the school system determines the best bus and classroom placement. A portion of the problem is linked to the influx of students at the beginning of the school year.

“It is a great problem to have, and one we are looking forward to solving. It is a great time of the year. Obviously, I am very excited,” Ringstaff said. “I am just very proud of the work we are doing, and it is very exciting to see where we are going.”