May 2013 Column

 Spring is a time for renewal.  We notice the birds singing as we begin working in our yards in preparation for a strong growing season. The grass starts to turn green, the trees leaf out and the temperatures fluctuate from freezing to hot. It’s also a time in the education field when staff begin to visit retirement meetings as they compute their financial abilities to retire.

 Retirement is a double-edged sword.  It is exciting for staff to plan for the next phase of their life.  It’s also a time of remorse as we lose some valuable members of our profession. In my 32 years of education, I’ve had the pleasure to work with some great educators. Although I’m excited for friends to reap the benefits of their retirement, it saddens me to know I will not have the same relationship we garnish on a day-to-day basis.

 Pam Thompson has worked for the Hobbs Municipal Schools for twenty years.  The past thirteen years she has held the title of Assistant Superintendent for Personnel (recently changed to Human Resources). Pam is the director behind the scenes who gets very little recognition for any accomplishment in the district.  She is responsible for hiring all employees. She works with an amazing trio of staff who document, verify employability, update licensure as well as provide numerous trainings from substitutes to administrators.  Pam treats all the HMS employees as if they were her children, nudging them along to make sure they have the proper paperwork, credentials, sick leave, or any of the other multitude things that happen with personnel.

 When I was fortunate to take over as HMS superintendent three years ago, one of my demands was that Pam would remain on staff.  Had she decided to retire or resign, I would not have accepted the job offer. She is truly the backbone of the HMS organization.  Several consultants I have dealt with over the years have complimented Hobbs on Pam’s enthusiasm and dedication -traits they do not see in many HR positions across the United States.  She exemplifies excellence. Although we must move forward, it will be difficult replacing Ms. Thompson.  I’m sure she will check to see how her children are doing and make sure we don’t mistreat her recruits.

 This year also marks the end to another era with the retirements of prinicipal John Notarro  (31 years) at Highland Middle School, FHS principal Pat McMurray (36 years), Mills fourth-grade teacher Christy Hepp (32 years), College Lane kindergarten teacher Carolyn Searcy (35 years), Learning Center teacher Vicky Taylor (29 years) and several other retirees. We wish each of you the best in your retirement years and thank you for your service. As we begin the process of recruiting new staff members this summer, I hope the young educators are able to impact lives in the same positive fashion as the retirement class of 2013.
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