Long-time educator gives up full-time work

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2004

Lincoln County School District Assistant Superintendent Dr.Leanne Summers has decided to pursue a different life path andannounced her decision to retire.

“After 30 years, I decided to take another path,” she said.”It’s been a good 30 years, and I hope I have made a good impact onthe teachers and students.”

Summers oversaw curriculum instruction, testing and assessment,staff development and Tech Prep. Her retirement officially takeseffect June 30.

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Superintendent Terry Brister said Summers was among a number ofretirees this year who helped get the district to where it istoday.

“We’re appreciative of the work she’s done, as we areappreciative to everyone who is retiring this year, for theirdedication and contributions to the Lincoln County SchoolDistrict.”

The 1994 Presidential Award for Excellence in MathematicsTeaching recipient said she and her husband Gordon, who issemi-retired, have plans to travel and spend time with theirfamily.

“My husband and I plan to travel and enjoy our children andgrandchildren,” she said. “We’ve traveled some during each vacationor semi-vacation we’ve had and look forward to doing more.”

They have three children and six grandchildren.

“I’m still young enough to do a lot of things I want and like todo,” she said.

She also intends to improve her tennis game, she said.

Summers taught for 22 years before accepting an administrativeposition. She spent two years in McComb and two decades in theBrookhaven School District, where she was named Teacher of the Yearin 1992. Eight years ago, she accepted the assistant superintendentposition and began to focus on curriculum and state testing andassessment.

“A week doesn’t go by that I don’t have a young adult come up tome and ask if I remember teaching them,” she said. “I think that’smy fondest memory — that I was important enough to them in theirlives that they remember me and that they recognize they wereimportant to me.”

The district has improved considerably in the past decade, shesaid, citing the improvements in accreditation levels and otherindicators, but it was not entirely through her efforts.

“We’ve grown. We’ve made many positive strides in a climb to thetop,” she said. “We have an exceptional group of teachers. I’vetried to organize and keep them focused on the curriculum. Theresults have been obvious.”

She will leave behind a number of friends, she said, and theyreminded her of that during the retirement ceremony heldrecently.

“I was thrilled with the standing ovation I received at theretirement ceremony,” she said. “It was a very nice gesture fromthe teachers for everything we accomplished together.”

Although Summers said she is ready to take a break, she is notready to fully leave the educational field.

She will continue to teach a graduate teachers course one nighta week at William Carey College and plans to offer her experienceand knowledge for teacher development workshops for several schooldistricts.