Retired teachers still influence

Published 3:48 pm Thursday, October 5, 2017

Retired educators across the Heart of Virginia who have worked for decades in public schools are coming together to continue to shape new generations of teachers, thanks to the Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward Retired Teachers Association (RTA).

The area association spans the three counties.

James C. Moore Sr., RTA president, said the 15-member group currently meets once every three months.

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He estimates the organization first started meeting in the 1980s.

He and four members of the association met Sept. 15 to discuss expenses related to the $500 scholarship provided to a Prince Edward County student, along with plans for an upcoming holiday celebration for members of the association.

The area association also attends other RTA meetings across the region. The Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward RTA was recently awarded for the highest RTA attendance in the Mecklenburg area Sept. 11.

Moore worked in schools in Prince Edward, teaching distributive education — or enhancing skills needed for careers — and drafting for more than 30 years. Being in his 70s, he is the last original founding member of the RTA chapter.

He still sees his former students succeed, and remembers watching a former student start as a bagging clerk at a Winn Dixie store and later becoming a manager.

“We’re very proud of them,” Moore said about his former students. 

Phyllis and John Baker both cited attending RTA district meetings and conferences as an aspect they’ve enjoyed the most from being a part of the association.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Phyllis, who served as an instructor and library assistant at Longwood University for more than 30 years before her retirement. “I’ve enjoyed meeting in other districts.”

She and John said the district meetings have allowed them to reunite with family members and connect with other teachers.

Jean Redd, who was a fifth-grade math and science instructor in Prince Edward County, said the association has allowed her to be aware of the technologies available to instructors and students and the issues that the school systems face.

“It’s been interesting to see the direction it’s been going,” Redd said of schools in Prince Edward County. “Especially with social media and the technology available to students and teachers.”

A guest, Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office Captain James Farley, alerted members to potential telephone scams in the area and how to detect them.

Odessa Pride

Hampden District Supervisor Dr. Odessa Pride, a retired educator and administrator at Prince Edward County Public Schools, is involved with the association. She said in addition to attending RTA meetings and functions, she also tutored first-grade students at Prince Edward County Elementary School and is chair of the scholarship committee.

“We meet, we exchange ideas and we are active members of the schools represented during the year,” Pride said.

This year, she presented a scholarship to a high school senior in Prince Edward, Lauren Anema.

The committee rotates the scholarship each year between Cumberland, Buckingham and Prince Edward counties.

Pride said the organization gives her and other area retired teachers the opportunity to influence students and help new generations of potential teachers.

“The process doesn’t end with our retirement,” Pride said. “We continue with it because we would like for the students that we work with to have an interest in becoming teachers someday.”

“We think we have a valuable asset to offer them,” Pride said.

For more information about the organization, call Moore at (434) 767-4330 or Pride at (434) 391-4100.