Vinton schools recognize retirees


Several faculty and staff members are retiring from Vinton area schools this year. William Byrd High School counts three who are retiring: Billy Meador, Pat Smith, and Edwin “Duke “ Edsall.

Meador is retiring after 44 years in education. He compleed his 30th year at William Byrd High School where he taught AP Physics. When he came to William Byrd High School, he was contracted to teach Applied Physical Science and Physics. Over the years he has also taught Principals of Technology and Chemistry. Meador started his teaching career at Botetourt Intermediate School where he taught for 11 years before coming to William Byrd Junior High School in Roanoke County. Meador and wife, Beth, have two children, Andrea and Richard, and reside in Vinton. Along with teaching, he coached football, basketball and track at Botetourt Intermediate and softball and football at William Byrd High.

Smith said her teaching career has spanned a total of 33 years, the first 15 in Norfolk, and the last 18 in Roanoke County. During that time, she has taught photography all 33 years. Her other subjects have included CAD & Technical Drawing, Engineering Drawing, Architectural Drawing, and Electricity/Electronics.

“When I began, I was one of very few women in the Technology Education area,” said Smith. “I was the first female to win the Virginia Technology Education Association Teacher of the Year award in 1989.

“I am fortunate to be married to Robert Smith for 18 years,” said Smith. “He is also a Technology Education teacher. We have only a dog and four cats for children. During retirement, I plan to enjoy taking my own photos more often, continue quilting and gardening, and hopefully travel.”

Edsall has been with Roanoke County Schools for 18 years and at William Byrd High School for nine years. In addition to WBHS, he worked at Cave Spring High School, Cave Spring Middle School, and Hidden Valley High School. At each school, he was an instructional assistant. He was originally hired to work with the newly formed Regional Autism Consortium. Edsall has also been a Division One basketball official for 35 years. He and his wife Jodylee have two children, Kacy and Kali; both are WBHS and James Madison University graduates. Jodylee is the Data Base administrator for Roanoke County Schools. Edsall is leaving to become the general manager at Hunting Hills Country Club and will continue officiating Division One basketball. Although he will not be working in Roanoke County Schools, he has plans to work with the special needs children in Roanoke County as they do community-based instruction at the country club.

William Byrd Middle School has two retirees— Life Science teacher Kay Thompson and Building Operator of 16 years Morris Pendleton.

Thompson is retiring with 13 years of service at WBMS. She also taught eight years in Roanoke City schools for a total of 21 years of service. She will be traveling to Hilton Head Island for a week right after retiring, and has several retirement celebrations to attend.

“My husband Roger, children Kim and Gene, and grandchildren Allie, Daphne and Avery will keep me busy when I retire,” said Thompson. “I will also work 32 days each year for five years at WBMS. It has been a great pleasure to teach at WBMS and to serve the children of the Roanoke Valley. Teaching was a dream come true for me as I started late in life. I have been blessed to have such a wonderful family at home and at school.  I hope my students will remember me as I will always cherish the days I’ve spent with them.”

Mount Pleasant Elementary Principal Ellen Walton says she is losing two faculty members to retirement— librarian Julia Martin, who “has worked to instill a love of reading in our students,” and Special Education teacher Michele Wirt “who has worked to provide academic support to help our children succeed.”

Herman L. Horn Elementary has two retirees— Vicky Halferty and Julie Huckaby. Halferty is a special education teacher and has been assigned to HLH since September 1983. She says working in education has been “a wonderful journey and many blessings along the way.”

Huckaby has taught 24 years—17 of them in Roanoke County Schools. Most of her years have been as a Title I teacher or interventionist, both in Roanoke County and in North Carolina.

“Both of these ladies are lifetime educators who have a passion for the children of HLH,” said Principal Peggy Stovall. “Both of their careers reflect dedication, love of children, being life time learners themselves, and leaders among our staff. HL Horn will not BEE the same without them.”

W.E. Cundiff Elementary is losing four faculty members— fifth grade teacher Kim Colls, Speech Language Pathologist Cheryl Brenton, Special educator Anita Williams, and Principal Sherry Bryant.

Bonsack Principal Melissa Jones says she is fortunate that none of her staff is retiring this year.