The Zachary Community School Board honored several district retirees at its Dec. 16 meeting. Combined, the retirees worked more than 120 years in education.
Superintendent Scott Devillier said he was happy for the district employees but sad to see them go.
“It’s a bittersweet time,” Devillier said.
Receiving plaques from School Board members were Cynthia Myers, principal; Cornell Smart, janitor; and Mamie Thornton, food service technician. Retiree Deborah Haynes, a counselor, was unable to attend the meeting.
Myers retired Dec. 19 as principal from Zachary Early Learning Center. She was named head of the prekindergarten school when it first opened in 2010.
Myers began her career in the Zachary school district as assistant principal at Northwestern Elementary School when it housed the pre-kindergarten students.
Devillier first announced Myers’ retirement in November at a pep rally celebrating the district’s 10 years with a No. 1 school rating.
“Mrs. Myers was a wonderful administrator who loved children. I wish my friend a happy retirement. The ZCSB family will miss her,” Devillier said. Several Zachary Early Learning teachers were in attendance to witness Myers’ recognition along with the school’s Assistant Principal Angela Cassard.
Martha Davis, principal of Northwestern Elementary, will remain in her position but also oversee the pre-K center in a dual-principal role.
Myers received a commemorative plaque for her years of service from outgoing School Board member Sharon Samuel.
Smart worked 10 years at Copper Mill Elementary but has worked more than 23 years at area schools. Smart, who lives in Simmesport, made the drive every day to Zachary to work at Copper Mill, Devillier said.
Once, during a heavy rainfall, Smart and his wife drove from Simmesport to check on the school in the middle of the night, officials said.
“That’s what kind of person he is. He is a fine man,” Devillier said.
Copper Mill Principal Keisha Thomas said she was grateful for Smart, who “willingly helped out with whatever he could.”
“We thank you for that,” Thomas said.
An emotional Smart received his plaque from School Board member Gaynell Young.
Retiree Mamie Thornton was honored for her 11 years as a food service technician at Zachary High School.
Thornton worked more than 28 years “serving children.”
She was awarded by outgoing School Board member Kenneth Mackie.
Haynes spent the past 11 years of her more than 31 years in education in the Zachary school district. She was hired in 2003 when the district gained independence from East Baton Rouge Parish, officials said.
Haynes worked as a counselor guiding children at Zachary Elementary, Copper Mill and Port Hudson Career Academy.