The Barbour County Board of Education said goodbye Monday to 16 employees who recently retired from the Barbour County school system.
"I hate to see you all go because we're losing 518 years of experience," said Elaine Benson, director of personnel, at the regular board meeting.
Dr. Joseph F. Super, superintendent of Barbour County Schools, said the retiring staff members did excellent jobs throughout their careers.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Sixteen retirees from the Barbour County school system are recognized at a Board of Education meeting this week. In the back row, from left, are Nancy Shaffer, Jill Schielfelbein, Tom Kittle, Barbara Barkley, Debbie Workman, Kathleen Knatsas, Debra Moore and James Carpenter. In front, from left, are Christine Weese and Maxine Haymond. Not photographed are Gloria McClean, Jude McConnell, Ira Mayle, Donna Phillips, Tonda Channell and Rita Kennedy.
"I congratulate these folks for the dedication to children and the dedication to their position," Super said. "No matter what they did for the school system, they did it every day; they did it with pride, honor and respect."
Many of the retirees were able to attend the board meeting for a reception in their honor, although some weren't present. They included James Carpenter, Tom Kittle, Jill Schielfelbein, Nancy Shaffer, Barbara Barkley, Debbie Workman, Kathleen Knatsas, Debra Moore, Christine Weese, Maxine Haymond, Gloria McClean, Jude McConnell, Ira Mayle, Donna Phillips, Tonda Channell and Rita Kennedy.
Carpenter, a maintenance crew worker, retired this month following 39 years of service. He performed general maintenance such as electrical and plumbing work. Benson said he worked hard and did so with pride, gave encouragement and made others smile because of his unusual view of the world.
"I hate to leave, it's been a real good place to work," Carpenter said at the board meeting.
Kittle was a bus operator of 20 years.
"He was always a good bus driver for our students - friendly, cared about them," Benson said.
Schielfelbein taught in Barbour County for 33 years, finishing her career this year as an art and language arts teacher at Kasson School. Her career began at Philip Barbour High School.
"(During) the Barbour County school art show this year, some of her former students wrote things for her that we hung up at the art show on how she inspired their love of art," Benson said.
Shaffer, a teacher of 32 years, was recognized for her service to Barbour County Schools, and Benson said she was one of the elementary teachers who has inspired kids to learn to love to read.
Board of Education Member Michael Talbott added, "I even tried to bribe this woman to stay in there a little longer, until my 4-year-old got up there, but she just wouldn't do it."
A social studies teacher, Barkley retired after 33 years of service to Barbour County Schools. Through her love of social studies, she encouraged other students to love social studies as well.
"Barbara took lots of her summers and went and learned about all kinds of things, particularly U.S. history, to bring them back to her students at Philip Barbour," Benson said.
Workman, a special education teacher of 31 years, also retired this month. She started her career at the old special service center at Belington Middle School, then Philip Barbour High School and finally at Philippi Elementary School as a special education teacher. One of her main goals was to ensure students were happy to be at school.
"She indeed made sure that they were happy at school and they had the opportunity to learn," Benson said.
Knatsas, a teacher at Philippi Elementary School, retired after 38 years. She touched many lives in that duration, Benson said.
"She also likes to have fun. She can always get folks laughing and having a good time - colleagues, students. She believes that learning can be fun," Benson said.
Moore, an elementary teacher with 33 years of service, retired from Philippi Elementary School.
Benson said Moore is someone who enjoys children, provides excellent opportunities for learning, believes that students can learn and "always worked to make sure every child has a chance to achieve at their highest level."
Weese, a counselor, started her career in Randolph County but finished in Barbour County. She retired after 33 years.
"We were fortunate to have her move over to Barbour County. Christine is someone who is a friend to students, she also was very successful in helping students find the right path to the right college or technical school or that first job," Benson said.
Haymond, a classroom kindergarten aide at Philippi Elementary School, retired after 35 years. She served at Kasson School for part of those years.
"Maxine is someone who loves children, is good with children and is a real colleague to the teachers that she worked with all of these years," Benson said.
McClean just completed 35 years of service to Barbour County Schools after most recently serving as a music teacher at Belington Elementary School.
One of McClean's students told Benson that McClean was an inspiration to her and part of the reason for her choice to study music.
"You can't get better than that kind of legacy," Benson said.
McConnell, a special education teacher, spent 35 years in service to the Barbour County School system. Benson said he had a calm demeanor and he always could be counted on in a crisis.
Mayle, a bus operator and mechanic, served for 31 years.
"He had pride in his work and he encouraged others to have pride in their work," Benson said.
Phillips, an elementary teacher at Belington Elementary School, worked for 35 years.
"She served students there with love and caring, and has inspired many kids over her 10 years there (Belington Elementary School)," Benson said.
Channell, an elementary teacher of 37 years, taught at Belington Elementary School.
"You could give (Channell) a hard-to-reach student with learning problems and Tonda went the extra mile to make sure that all kids could learn," Benson said.
Kennedy was special education classroom aide of 20 years.
"Rita was a real advocate to kids with disabilities," Benson said, adding that all the retirees will be missed. Each was thanked for his or her service to the children and to Barbour County Schools.