Students, parents preview new Georgie D. Tyler Middle School
Published 12:28 pm Saturday, August 30, 2014
WINDSOR—Before classes resume on Tuesday, the young Titans of the new Georgie D. Tyler Middle School got to preview their new building during the open house on Friday. As parents walked around with their children taking it all in, teachers and staff were stationed in the hallways and classrooms eager to meet them and answer questions.
Jennifer Smith, who teaches sixth-grade English and history, is ready for next week and the year to come. A feeling that she thinks is shared with other faculty.
“I think the teachers are more excited than the students,” Smith said.
This is her ninth year in Isle of Wight County Schools, and 15th of teaching. The career is something she’s wanted to do since college.
“This is long overdue,” said Smith about the new facility. She added that the teachers got a say-so in what they thought is needed.
“We were consulted…we had a lot of input,” Smith said.
Ground was broken on Sept. 14, 2012, and the school was supposed to be ready in January of this year. But delays in construction, some caused by weather, pushed the opening to this coming Tuesday. Ritchie-Curbow Construction Inc., of Williamsburg, was in charge of building the school.
The site is named for the well-known teacher and administrator in the county.
Among the classrooms on the second floor is Tom Michael’s domain, the library and media center. The school’s librarian since 1994, he’s carried over the books and other materials to the new site.
“We needed a little more space,” he said. “The other was long and narrow.”
In addition to shelves for more books, there’s now a place where students can plug in their iPads. Next to that is a little auditorium space with a screen.
“There are new things to learn,” said Michael.
Leyda Sanders, 13, looking around the library, said she’s ready for the new year and will be concentrating on Algebra I in her studies.
Other students shared their thoughts on the upcoming year.
Malik Riddick, 14, said he’s “kind of excited” about being in the new school.
But Cameron Rideout, 12, played it cool and said he wasn’t feeling that emotion.
Rachel Brock has set a goal to be on the principal’s list, as have Racquel Turner, Cierra White and Kayce Gray, also each in the 8th-grade.
Joann Parker, cafeteria manager, walks around eyes wide open.
“Everything is gorgeous! I’m overwhelmed.”
Sarah Spital, the art teacher, is practically giddy. In the 20 years she’s been teaching in IOW, this is the first time she truly has a space of her own.
In the past, sharing spaces at the high school and using carts to transport supplies was the norm.
“I’m thrilled,” she said while pointing out that there’s not just one sink, but three for cleaning up. The floors are specially treated to clean up easily whenever there’s ink or paints that spill.
Stephanie Hill, who teaches keyboarding in the exploratory/resource department, calls it all “beautiful. The community should be proud.”
Working to nurture school spirit are Kim Atkinson and Kimberly Cussick of the school’s Booster Club. In the lobby they shared flyers advertising a project of selling engraved bricks to be put around the flagpole and garden. Benches for inside and outside are also planned.
“We’re building the Booster Club and helping support students, administration and faculty,” Cussick said.
Principal Susan Goetz said she got up at 5 a.m. to be ready for the day. Standing in the lobby, she helped the students and parents with schedules and other questions.
“The excitement is palpable,” she said all smiles. “I think we got everything we asked for.”
In addition to getting an auditorium of their own, there’s new technology, a gymnasium with air conditioning and science labs.
“It’s a source of pride,” Goetz said. “You can’t help feel happy. We could not be more excited about the possibilities.”