The Runnels School hosted a surprise retirement party on April 30 to honor founding Headmaster L.K. Runnels, who started the school in 1965, and his wife, assistant head of school and longtime preschool and elementary Principal Gladys Runnels, who will step down on July 1.

Attending the luncheon, held in the dance studio on the school’s Harrell’s Ferry Road campus, were members of the Runnels faculty and staff.

The faculty and staff gave the Runnels a travel voucher in the amount of nearly $5,000, a quilt decorated with award-winning Runnels’ student art, an original watercolor portrait by art department head Lee Brandt Randall and a plaque commemorating the founding of the school.

In addition, to honor Gladys Runnels’ dedication to the arts and arts education, the school’s 500-seat theatre, built in 2001, was renamed the “Gladys Hague Runnels Theatre.” Gladys Runnels was presented with a computer drawing of the new blue-and-white sign, which is in the process of being manufactured.

Committee members planning the event were Marcia Mackay, Conchetta Foshee, Beth Golden, Sarah Haase, Monica Bryan, Dana Schlotterer, and Pamela Babcock.

Duck-themed table decorations were created by Paula Naquin and Debbie Davenport.