The Cobb County School District on Thursday honored more than 200 employees who will retire at the end of the school year after dedicating more than 5,000 years of service to the system.
The annual retirement lunch was held at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, and recognized the 229 employees who have collectively committed 5,009 years to Cobb County school children. The school district has about 18,301 employees, spokeswoman Nan Kiel said.
Superintendent Chris Ragsdale told the retirees that the schools and students they serve will not be the same without their presence.
“Without the commitment of this group of staff members over the past four decades, none of us would be the same,” he said. “Your impact will live on through our students. Thank you for your service. You helped make Cobb the best place to teach, lead, and learn.”
Thirteen of the retirees each have more than 30 years under their belts. Cheatham Hill Elementary School teacher Sheila Fisher and East Side Elementary School teacher Debra Denise Clackum are retiring after 35 years of service, as is Campbell Middle School food service manager Donna Childers.
Five retirees have served the system for 35 years: Susan Christensen, director of special education; Leigh Graham, North Cobb High School assistant principal; Lawrence Moon, Walton High School custodian; Heang Khel, Osborne High School head custodian; and Deborah Poss, Lassiter High School teacher.
Another Lassiter teacher, Donald Slater, is also hanging up his hat after 38 years, while two food service managers will say goodbye after 39 years of employment: Rosemary Winter of Griffin Middle School and Jeanie Ledbetter of Lassiter High School.
“It is the greatest part-time job with benefits that you could ever have,” Ledbetter said of her career. “You get summers off. You get to enjoy life.”
Bus driver Lillian King is also closing the book on her career after 42 years of safely transporting students to and from school.
Audrey Tatum, a clerk at Barber Middle School, is leaving the system after more than four decades of teaching students. Her career began 41 years ago when she signed on to serve as a Cobb County School District bus driver. She said the most fulfilling part of her career is when the students she drove as kindergartners reach out to her after they’ve graduated college.
“It makes me feel good because I felt like I had a part of it,” Tatum said in her former students’ development. “I really loved my job and my kids.”