Parish School Board recognizes retirees

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Washington Parish School System honored its 2013-14 retirees during a reception held prior to Thursday’s School Board meeting.

Certificates were presented by Superintendent Darrell Fairburn, who also recognized the retirees during the June 12 meeting.

He thanked the retirees for their service to the system and its children.

“We appreciate everything you’ve done, not only for the children, but for fellow workers — the support you’ve given each day that you’ve served here,” he said.

Among the retirees recognized was Pauline Bankston, who provided decades of service as an educator and handed over the reigns as Franklinton Junior High principal at the close of this school year.

Fairburn remarked on the progress that has been seen at the school under Bankston’s leadership, referring to it as a “tremendous effort.”

“It wasn’t just because she was principal. She dearly loves Franklinton schools and those kids,” he added.

Bankston said she couldn’t have done it without the support of Fairburn, the board members and all those who work in the system.

“The success of any school and any principal is through the backing they get from the central office,” she said.

Charlotte Fasola, who worked in the school system for 34 years and retired as director of special education, was recognized, as well.

Fairburn discussed Fasola’s dedication and work ethic, saying he and other staff members often had to “run her home” at 8 or 9 p.m.

“I would fuss at her, ‘Go home, Charlotte,’” he said, also thanking her for all she’s done for the system.

Another retiree in the special education department was Donna Givens, who worked as an educational diagnostician and had 33 years of service to the school system.

Fairburn next recognized Rayford Johnson, the central office’s lead maintenance worker. Martin worked in the system 24 years, and Fairburn said he always did his best to ensure jobs were done as economically as possible.

“Washington Parish definitely owes him a great deal of gratitude,” he said. “Not only did he do a good job, but there were many times, if it hadn’t been for Rayford, jobs would have cost us a lot more money.”

Michael Dillon, who retired as a custodian in the central office after working in the system for 41 years, was also honored.

Additionally, a certificate was also presented to Rhonda Gunnell, who retired as Varnado High counselor after 25 years in the school system. Fairburn said she was enthusiastic about her job and always had a smile on her face.

“She dearly loves the children at Varnado School, serving them and taking care of them,” he said.

Those attending the reception, listed by school and years of service, also included bus operator Louise Holmes, Mt. Hermon, 36 years; literacy coach Patricia Jan Wood, Thomas Elementary, 42 years; teacher Tama Blanchard, Franklinton Elementary, 27 years; and teacher Linda Magee, Thomas Elementary, 25 years.

At the close of the reception, board members offered congratulations and expressed their appreciation to the retirees.

John Wyble said they have made their community a stronger and more viable place through their work in the system.

“Thank you for all you’ve done for the children of Washington Parish,” Dan Slocum said.

“We’ve got a great school system, and it’s because of folks like you,” he added.