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Chatham Board of Education recognizes three retirees

Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Board of Education recognized three retirees during its September 13th meeting. The Board has decided to begin honoring school district employees who have at least forty years of service in education upon their retirement with an Educator Emeritus Award.

The first Educator Emeritus Award recipients were Sandra Price and Julian Smith, two teachers who retired in 2009-2010 with more than 40 years of service to education in Chatham County Schools, and Peggy Douglas, Director of Technology, who is retiring at the end of September with 40 years of service in education.

Sandra Price, a 41-year veteran, began teaching in August of 1971 as a Home Economics teacher at Chatham Middle School. In 1983, she transferred to Jordan-Matthews High School as a Home Economics teacher. Price became the Special Populations Coordinator in 1991 and served students at risk of school failure. She made certain that the basic needs of her students were met so they could perform academically. As a caring, nurturing teacher, she took many students under her wings and made them feel welcomed, valued, and that they could perform just as well as the next child if they were focused on the task at hand. Price was known for making home visits, particularly if a student she served was absent from school.

Julian Smith, a 45-year veteran, began teaching in September of 1965 at Chatham Central. A graduate of North Carolina State University, Smith has been visionary in the area of horticultural, focusing his life’s work on Chatham Central’s agricultural program. Smith spent countless hours with his students, teaching them in great detail about every aspect of horticulture. Smith taught his students by example how to be focused and determined and the importance of a strong work ethic. During his tenure, Smith and the students of FFA won numerous state and sixteen national FFA competitions in the area of horticulture. Smith is among the most highly respected horticulture educators locally, in the state, and nationally. Several years ago, he was awarded an Honorary American Degree from the National FFA Organization. Last year, Smith was among the first recipients of the Chatham County Agriculture Hall of Fame Award.

For more than 20 years, Peggy Douglas has provided leadership in the area of technology for Chatham County Schools. Douglas earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, respectively. Her background as an elementary teacher has allowed her to continually balance the emergence of technology in education with how those tools enhance classroom instruction. Through Bright Ideas funding, technology staff development for teachers was offered under her leadership before it was the norm in other districts. In the mid-1990s, schools district-wide partnered with the local community to hold Net Day events to bring the Internet into classrooms. Additionally, Douglas has been a leader in the implementation of the district’s 1 to 1 Laptop Learning Initiative. For the past two years, all high school students have been issued laptops. All certified staff members have also been issued laptops. Under Douglas’ leadership, Chatham County Schools is recognized across the state for its long and strong commitment to technology.

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