Southampton schools honor retiring faculty, staff

Published 12:49 pm Saturday, June 9, 2018

by Kenya Smith / Intern

Southampton County Public Schools honored retiring faculty and staff during the Retiree Banquet that was held on Tuesday. Division Superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon and Board Chair Dr. Deborah Goodwyn presented each employee with a plaque commemorating his or her years of service to the school system. The names of the retirees are listed as follows:


  • Hilda Freeman-MES-31 years
  • Thelma Saunders-NES-32 years
  • Mary Alice Barnes-SMS-25 years
  • Ruby Ford-SHS-45 years
  • Mary Boone-SHS-39 years
  • Trudy Whitfield-Multiple Schools-17 years
  • Jesse Sturdifen-CES-12 years

Food Services

  • Roxanne Darden-CES-11.5 years
  • Betty Bailey-NES-30 years
  • Thelma Saunders-NES-32 years
  • Joan Sobotor-NES-14 years

Capron Elementary School

  • Sandra Ivey-Teacher-34 years

Riverdale Elementary School

  • Patricia Hazelwood-Instructional Assistant-31 years

Southampton High School

  • Allene Atkinson-Principal-43 years
  • Teressa Baxter-Bookkeeper-28 years
  • David Bruce-Teacher-17.5 years
  • Cynthia Jackson-Teacher-27.5 years
  • Lionel Morgan-Teacher-19 years

Central Office

  • Fannie Faltz-Educational Diagnostician-37.5 years

Sandra Ivey, a second grade teacher at Capron Elementary, was one of the participants honored on Tuesday night. Her family played a significant role throughout her journey as a teacher. As a high school student, Ivey became interested in teaching after helping out her mother, who was also a teacher.

“My mom has been a teacher for 38 years,” said Ivey. “And during the summer, I would help her out by tutoring students in the community, and that’s when I decided to become a teacher.”

If Ivey needed some help, whether it was to buy school supplies or to have someone listen to her highs and lows as a teacher, it was her family that supported her. According to Ivey, her experience as a teacher has been challenging, but it has also been a colorful journey as well.

“The whole entire experience was wonderful,” she said.

Ivey will miss all of the smiles, the hugs, and the visits from her current students and her former students who would come to her for advice.

Patricia Hazelwood, currently an instructional assistant at Riverdale Elementary School, has worked for the school system for 31 years. She started out her career as an instructional assistant by volunteering at her daughter’s elementary school in Boykins, and she enjoyed working with children.

Since then, Hazelwood has worked at Courtland Elementary, Hunterdale Elementary and Riverdale Elementary. She has spent many years working with special education students as well as students from every single grade in the elementary school.

“I really liked working as an instructional assistant,” said Hazelwood, “I enjoy helping out the teachers as well as the students. Plus, I like to watch the kids learn new things, and I learn with them.”

Even though Hazelwood will miss seeing the children and the teachers she has helped, she anticipates to enjoy her time with her new grandson.

In recognition of the retirees, Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon stated, “We appreciate the service that these employees provided to our students. Their level of expertise and commitment contributed immensely to the success of Southampton County Public Schools. We hope that they have a happy retirement and are blessed with good health, a sound mind and inner peace.”