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Reception honors Butts County's retired educators

Photo by Rebecca Long

Photo by Rebecca Long

Butts County Retired Educators recently hosted its annual reception for retiring employees of the Butts County School System. There were 11 honorees this year, including seven certified personnel and four non-certified personnel. Butts County Retired Educators provided punch and finger foods for the retirees, their families, Board of Education members and others to enjoy as they chatted, reminisced, and talked of future plans.

From Jackson High School, those retiring included Mark Alling, Randy Hallmark, Bonnie Register, Leslie White, Connie Gilmer, and Joy Walker. Together they represent 149 years of teaching experience.

Alling has worked for the Butts County School System for 30 years, at the former Henderson Junior High and at Jackson High. He has served as chairperson of the Science Department at JHS and coached the academic team for several years. His wife, Martye, also works at JHS, and his daughter, Katie, was named the Star Student and valedictorian of the JHS Class of 2010.

Hallmark has also been teaching for 30 years, the last three at Jackson High School in the Social Studies Department. He coached girls basketball and volleyball at JHS. He also taught in Alabama, and in Floyd, Fannin, Henry and Clayton counties.

Register has served as Special Education chairperson and has worked at Griffin-Spalding County Schools and Butts County Schools for 21 years. She is also trained as a nurse, and provided valuable peace of mind to the families of the medically fragile children with whom she worked, according to Butts County School Superintendent Lynda White.

Leslie White has taught the Honors Language Arts classes for ninth- and 10th-grade students at JHS for several years, as well as other language arts classes. Her husband, Paul, and son, Jordan, also teach at JHS. She is National Board Certified, has served as a Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (TAPP) mentor, and has worked in the Americus City School System, Fayette County schools and Butts County during her 36 years of teaching.

Gilmer has worked as a Special Education paraprofessional at JHS for 12 years, and Walker has also been a part of the JHS Special Education team as a paraprofessional for 20 years.

Ruth Trawick is retiring from Henderson Middle School with 27 years of experience working in education in Dodge County, Texas, and in Butts County. She has served as department chairperson, TAPP chairperson, team leader, language arts and gifted teacher, and in various positions as needed at JHS.

Also with 27 years of service, Cheryl Colwell is retiring from Daughtry Elementary School, where most recently she has been an Early Intervention teacher. She is National Board Certified and has also worked in Griffin-Spalding County Schools, and Clayton County Schools.

Sherrie Richards is retiring as a paraprofessional in the media center at Daughtry Elementary, with 36 years of service in education. She has promised to return to the school to read to the children, help with the book fair, and otherwise continue to be a part of the school family.

Lura Blankenship is retiring with 38 years in education. She worked in Griffin-Spalding County Schools and in Alabama as well as in Butts County, where she has been a team leader, assistant principal at HMS, and most recently, an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher based at Stark Elementary. Her husband, Joe, is the director of transportation for Butts County Schools.

Willie Grier is retiring from the Butts County school system after 10 years of service as a bus driver.

Of the 11 Butts County school system employees retiring, nine were able to attend the June 7 Board of Education meeting and receive plaques and personal words of appreciation for their contributions to the Butts County community. Altogether, the 11 retirees represent 287 years of service in education.