Daugherty not ready to retire yet

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

After a 30-year career in education, Marianna Daugherty is not ready to retire just yet.

"I am not retiring," the former West Bourbon Elementary School principal said Monday during an interview with The Fort Scott Tribune to clear up some recent speculation that she had retired after being released from her one-year contract in March.

Daugherty said she is going to miss the school district she spent three decades working in as both a first grade teacher and administrator.

"I'm going to miss the teachers and staff, and the kids," she said. "After 30 years, you become like family. The staff were loving, caring, nurturing people. But I'm looking forward to a new challenge."

Several of Daugherty's friends, family members and former co-workers recently conducted a party celebrating Daugherty's career in Uniontown USD 235. She spent the first 19 years of her career working as a first grade teacher at WBE, and the last 11 years as the school's principal.

But rather than retiring, Daugherty said she is considering a position later this year as an intervention specialist in Fort Scott USD 234.

Daugherty said the recent party helped her forget about some of the animosity she felt toward the USD 235 Board of Education and USD 235 Superintendent Randy Rockhold last spring when they agreed to not renew her contract for what Rockhold told her was district budget troubles.

In March, Rockhold and the board attributed district budget issues, a recent decline in district enrollment and state aid per students, and a weak economy to Daugherty's release. At the time, Daugherty said she felt the decision to release her was made by Rockhold and the board for personal reasons, and that there were other ways the district financial situation could have been fixed.

Rockhold said the board had reviewed the budget very closely before researching which positions could potentially be eliminated in order to save the district money in the future. He also said he hated losing "quality people" but at the time, it was the only choice the district had toward correcting budget problems.

Tammy Stanley, a former fifth-grade teacher at WBE who worked for Daugherty, said Monday that Daugherty's positive impact on students and the way she worked with children are traits that defined her career.

"I consider Marianna a good friend and she was a great administrator," Stanley said. "She was always there for her kids as well as the teachers. She is so compassionate about kids. She's just such a supportive administrator ... I have the utmost respect for that woman. She's a fantastic person all around."

Stanley, who now teaches fifth grade at Fort Scott Middle School, added that she has spent much time learning from Daugherty throughout her own teaching career.

"When I taught in Uniontown, it was very early in my career," Stanley said. "I learned many teaching strategies, including how to always maintain respect and compassion for children. She (Daugherty) was truly there for each and every student at WBE. You could just tell how much she loves kids."