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Newton County School System honors 38 retirees
A combined 915 years of service
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The Newton County School System honored 39 retirees at their annual retirement dinner at Turner Lake Thursday evening, paying tribute to a combined 915 years of service to Newton County and its children.

“We’re here to honor you,” said Newton County School Board chair Dr. C.C. Bates, “and to honor your service and dedication to the children of Newton County.”

After a catered dinner, principals and administrators stood from each school and from the district office to say a little about each retiree. One principal asked the teacher’s students to comment on what they thought about her and they came back with “she acts like my momma.”

Newton High School principal Dr. Roderick Sams thanked his two retirees for their hard work and commitment to the school, saying “I thank you for everything you brought and continue to bring to Newton High School. Your legacy will begin the minute you walk out the doors.”

Deborah Robertson spoke of retiree Don Wood, the construction and energy manager for the school system, “He has been the overseer of about $160 million in construction projects,” she said. “I would really miss you if I weren’t retiring this year but since I am, I’ll let [upcoming Associate Superintendent for Administrative Services and Human Resources] Mr. [Dennis] Carpenter miss you.”

As for Robertson, Newton County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Whatley took to the podium to speak about her, saying “I don’t know if I’ll ever get the last word with this lady…”

“At least he called me a lady,” quipped Robertson.

Whatley continued, “She has many talents and she is willing to be a team player, doing everything that is necessary for the system. We appreciate her dedication over the years.”

The following is a list of retirees, their position and school and their years of service to education in Newton County.


Barbara Alexander, Indian Creek Middle School teacher, 17 years

Wendy Arena, Heard-Mixon Elementary School parapro, 22 years

Patricia Benton, Oak Hill Elementary School parapro, 10 years

Deborah Bledsoe, Student Services Department secretary, 35 years

Herbert Carson, Transportation Department bus driver, 10 years

Mike Carver, Cousins Middle School teacher, 30 years

Mary Cuspard, Indian Creek Middle School teacher, 22 years

Patricia A. Daniel, Fairview Elementary School secretary, 34 years

Eddie Davis, Transportation Department bus driver, 10 years

Mary Ann Davis, Livingston Elementary School teacher, 30 years

James Dove, Transportation Department bus driver, 12 years

Diane Drew-Grotheer, Special Education Department school psychologist, 28 years

Julia Duff, Porterdale Elementary School teacher, 25 years

Teresa Gilstrap, Heard-Mixon Elementary School nutrition worker, 38 years

Connie Hill, Eastside High School custodian, 28 years

Rose I. Hilton, itinerant speech/language pathologist, 37 years

Alan K. Hopkins, Veteran’s Memorial Middle School teacher, 28 years

Craig S. Hudson, system assigned speech/language pathologist, 23 years

Edna Johnson, Eastside High School nutrition worker, 27 years

Carl Jones, Student Services Department attendance officer, 23 years

David King, Eastside High School teacher, 30 years

Emmitt Marks, East Newton Elementary School custodian, 29 years

John Oxford, South Salem Elementary School teacher, 16 years

Deborah Robertson, Associate Superintendent for Administrative Services, 32 years

Judith Sanders, Fiquett Elementary School teacher, 30 years

Marie Segars, Mansfield Elementary School teacher, 22 years

Eleanor Shaw, Heard-Mixon Elementary School parapro, 26 years

Reba Shepherd, Livingston Elementary School nutrition worker, 25 years

Charles Stanford, Newton High School JROTC commander, 13 years

Cathy Stubbs, Director of Special Education, 29 years

Sandra Surles, Alcovy High School special education parapro, 22 years

Dr. David Temple, Alcovy High School teacher, 28 years

Thomas Tuggle, Cousins Middle School custodian, 10 years

Walker Kirkpatrick, Maintenance Department, 26 years

Darlene White, West Newton Elementary School teacher, 24 years

Eleanor Whitney, Transportation Department bus monitor, 10 years

Robert Whitney, Transportation Department bus monitor, 13 years

Don Wood, Construction/Energy Manager, 12 years

Kay Wright, Newton High School teacher, 29 years

 “We so appreciate all that you’ve done,” said Whatley. “We cherish those memories of working with you as colleagues. May God bless you and may you enjoy your retirement.”