In addition to more than 4,500 seniors who recently received their high school diplomas, Chesterfield County Public Schools is celebrating a graduating class of a different sort this month: The Retirement Class of 2020.
More than 150 Team Chesterfield employees will retire from Chesterfield County Public Schools at the end of June. Together, these individuals have worked with the school division for 3,634 years. Clover Hill High Dean of Students Tommy Carter has the distinction of being the retiree with the longest service to Chesterfield County Public Schools. Carter has worked with the school division for 47 years.
“We are so thankful for everything that you have done to support our students, schools and community!” Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said of the school division’s retiring employees. “You have taught and supported our children well, and have provided them with a strong foundation of knowledge and values necessary to experience success after their own graduation. You have helped our students make good choices and been there to support them when they needed your help. You have provided them nutritious meals in clean facilities, and gotten them to and from school safely each day. You have been second parents, caregivers and cheerleaders. You have been game changers for many.”
On average, the retiring school division member joined Chesterfield County Public Schools around 1996. A quick walk down memory lane reminds us that the cost of a new home then was $118,000, minimum wage had just been increased to $5.15 and the Spice Girls ruled the airwaves. This time was also pre-SOLs, pre- technology in every classroom and largely before trauma-informed care and social emotional learning were a part of everyday supports offered to students. These retiring employees saw a sea of change in education during their time with Chesterfield County Public Schools.
“During their time with us, this year’s high school graduates spent close to 10,000 hours at school working directly with 50-plus teachers and an equally large amount of administrators and support staff,” School Board Chair Debbie Bailey said. “Whether they are the first in their family to graduate high school or they are graduating with honors, all of these students have something in common: At some point, each one of those students’ lives was impacted by a Team Chesterfield member.”
With support from surrounding organizations, Chesterfield County Public Schools will host its traditional retirement reception once larger groups are approved to congregate in the same area.