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Here's how Georgia honors its retired teachers
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Dr. William G. Sloan Jr., executive director at Georgia Retired Educators Association, stands in a mock classroom at the Georgia Retired Educator Association's museum on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

When Dr. William Sloan Jr. retired as principal of East Hall High School in 2005, he didn’t sit around long before moving on to his next line of work.

“I wasn’t retired very long,” Sloan joked.

Just two months later, in fact, he became executive director of the Georgia Retired Educators Association, which opened a museum in Flowery Branch in 2015 under Sloan’s leadership.

“We wanted to preserve the history of education in Georgia,” Sloan said, including artifacts and memorabilia. “Technology has changed the face of education.”

The Educators Association also works to preserve the legacy of teachers across the state.

Each year on the first Sunday in November (Nov. 4 this year), those educators and all others retired from the often thankless profession are honored and recognized with Georgia Retired Educators Day.

Sloan said it’s “a long-standing” tradition and a “thank you from everybody to retired educators for the job they did over many, many years.”

Most retired educators worked for at least 30 years, Sloan said. And the Educators Association has 29,400 members among 145 individual chapters across the state.

“It’s a day to honor the contributions retired educators have made and continue to make for the betterment of human lives and society,” said Angela Middleton, president of the Hall-Gainesville Retired Educators Association. “As an educator, we’ll never know all the lives that we’ve touched as they thread throughout our society.”

Middleton knows just how hard it is to leave the profession entirely.

She retired after 30 years in public education from McEver Elementary in 2013 as an ESOL teacher (she’s also renowned as top-notch basketball coach).

Middleton now teaches GED classes for the Goodwill in Oakwood.

“We are that forgotten soldier of society,” she said. “This day allows us to be really honored. We’ve been in the trenches.”

Middleton said she has also reached out to local pastors asking them to share a word with their congregations on Sunday about the impact teachers have on every community.

“An educator affects eternity, and you can never tell where their influence stops,” she said. “That’s the faith I walk on.” 

More info

To learn more about the Georgia Retired Educators Association, visit www.garetirededucators.org or call 770-287-7721. 

The Hall-Gainesville chapter of the Georgia Retired Educators Association meets on the first Monday of each month for a luncheon at the Gainesville Civic Center. The next meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Nov. 5. All retired educators are invited to attend.

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