Retirees honored at Hawkins County Board of Education meeting

There were 23 retired employees who were honored for their service by the Hawkins County Board of Education at Thursday’s board meeting in Rogersville.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for your years of service and dedication to Hawkins County and to our students,” Director of Schools Matt Hixson said. “Please join me in congratulating this fine group of dedicated retirees.”

Honored were Christi Cardenas, a teacher at Surgoinsville Elementary; Heidi Randolph, teacher at Hawkins Elementary; Betty Drinnon, teacher at Volunteer High School; Debbie Stapleton, teacher at Bulls Gap; Sandra Head, custodian at Mount Carmel; Betty Brown, teacher at Surgoinsville Elementary; Barry Bellamy, principal of Hawkins Elementary; Tonni Carrigan, teacher at Mount Carmel; Barbara Grizzel, teacher, Mooresburg Elementary; Cameron Tate, teacher, Volunteer High; Sandy Williams, principal at Keplar and McPheeter’s Bend Elementary; Dorothy Jeanette Trent, Bulls Gap; Hannah Kathryn West, Keplar; Shelia Annett, Surgoinsville Elementary; Pamela Griffin, Bulls Gap; Cynthia Clark; Wanda Whitaker, Transportation Department; Darrell Gilliam, Maintenance and Transportation; Beverly Davis, Hawkins Elementary; Tonia Starnes, Keplar Elementary; Sandra Penland, Carters Valley; Beth Holt, Central Office; and Phyllis Darlene Trent, Bulls Gap.

Board of Education Chairman Chris Christian personally thanked the retirees who were present for the ceremony.

“I don’t anyone to take a teacher lightly,” Christian said. “They teach not only reading, writing and arithmetic, but develop our future. I want to thank you personally for that. You’ll always be welcome in Hawkins County Schools. Thank you for your service and commitment to this school system. You’ve made us better by your hard work and diligence.”

Each retiree received a special retirement gift from the system for their years of service. Many of the retirees were unable to attend due to prior commitments.

In Hixson’s “Director’s Report,” the process of building a storage shed with restroom for the softball field at Surgoinsville Middle School is underway. The concrete slab for the cinderblock building has been poured and the building will be completed in the next few weeks. All materials for the building have been donated by the community.

The school system is not immune to ransomware attacks. One recent paycheck for a school system employee was deposited into a fraudulent account. The check, for $3,346.84, went through the fraudulent account before the system could intercept it. The payment was claimed on the system’s insurance, minus the $500 deductible through the county’s risk management agency. The employee received their full payment.

Staff members are now allowed to make use of online agencies, such as DonorsChoose, for fundraising activities. Fundraising will still be required to go through the standard protocols to be approved through the school system. Hawkins County is the third school system in Tennessee to go with DonorsChoose.