Mehaffey retires from IOW schools

Published 7:32 am Friday, July 3, 2009

ISLE OF WIGHT—Dr. Mary Mehaffey, assistant superintendent for instruction for Isle of Wight County Schools, retired from the system on July 1, but she has not given up working in the field of education.

Mehaffey will immediately open an educational consulting firm, “Keys 2 Achieve Inc.,” which she will operate from her home in Smithfield.

“I’ve worked so long in education, 31 years, that I find it hard to stop completely,” she said with a smile. “Plus, I think there’s a need for this service.”

Mehaffey’s firm will work with school divisions across the country on issues such as school leadership, school improvement and, especially, special education.

Indeed, it would seem that Mehaffey has chosen the perfect business in which to continue her work. No one can question her qualifications, for the 59-year-old educator has spent much of her career in special education. In fact, one of her first jobs was teaching children with emotional disabilities.

With degrees in elementary and secondary education from Hampton University, she also holds degrees as an educational specialist, as well as in administration and supervision from the College of William and Mary.

She earned her doctorate in education from the College of William and Mary in 1993.

She has taught in the Poquoson, Newport News and Isle of Wight school systems and was the director of training and technical assistance at the College of William and Mary.

Mehaffy says she decided to retire in order to have time to do some of the other things she is interested in.

“For instance, I was one of the IOW school representatives, but now a private business owner who also serves as treasurer, on the board of Smart Beginnings, an organization dedicated to assuring that children ages birth to 5 are ready for school.”

She says that she has enjoyed every minute of her time as a teacher.

“It has been dynamic and ever-changing, and I’m thrilled to see the improvement in the students who’ve needed special assistance.

“The new technology and methods of teaching special-needs children have been wonderful. They focus on the children and have helped so many become successful.

“Some of these methods, of course, were not even heard of when I started teaching. And I feel privileged to have been a part of it.”

Aside from running her new business, she will spend more time with her husband and two children, she said. She also will continue to be involved in the family business — a Christmas tree farm in western North Carolina.

The new retiree, who has such a strong desire to succeed in any venture that she earned a first degree black belt in karate because she never quits, will no doubt put this passion to test in her new business.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m always ready for a challenge.”

Mehaffey may be reached at or

According to the Isle of Wight School System, Mehaffey will not be replaced. Her duties will be reassigned.