Thursday, August 4, 2011
Kilgore honored for 39 years service
By SUE WATSON
The Marshall County School District honored Marvia Kilgore recently on her retirement as director of special education, ending 39 years of service to the students.
She served 29 years with the county and another eight years with the Holly Springs School District.
Kilgore, who was one of two students to integrate the Byhalia schools years ago, praised those who helped her attain her educational goals, particularly Waureen Going, whom she said acted as a mentor to her throughout her life. Going worked in the Byhalia schools when Kilgore was growing up.
She said her retirement was prompted by the demands and stress in today’s educational system.
“You just get burnt out over time,” she said.
But she enjoys her former students, many whose names she has forgotten, coming up to introduce themselves to her and to say “thank you” and that Kilgore was their favorite teacher.
One of 11 children of Ophelia Ealey and the late Wade Ealey of Victoria, Kilgore said her parents stressed education and made it a priority for their children, five of whom attained college degrees.
Her education began at St. Mary’s Catholic School and continued at Henry School and Byhalia High School. Kilgore graduated with a bachelor’s from Rust College and received a master’s in education and administration at Ole Miss.
Married to Sylvester Kilgore Sr., the couple have three children – Sylvester Jr., an educator at Memphis City Schools; a daughter, Clarice, who works in food services at the Marshall County School District; and a son, Marvis, who is an educator in Houston, Texas. They have four grandchildren.
Kilgore has been active in her church and in other projects. At Asbury United Methodist Church, she has served in missions and has directed the summer camp for youth for 11 years. She was given the key to the City of Holly Springs for directing the Marshall County spelling bee for 25 years.
She sees retirement as an opportunity to do some traveling and then to get involved in community projects – something she has a passion for. She is a Diamond Life member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and a member of Heroines of Jericho, Court 38, Holly Springs.
Her proudest moment is to be the first in her family to receive a master’s degree. And a close second is to see her children grow up to be productive citizens.
Besides Going, whom Kilgore said, “Treated me as a teacher should treat a student,” she named Lawrence Autry, former principal and former superintendent of education in the county for providing guidance and an opportunity to take the director’s position. Another important influence, support and mentor was Debbie Childers, who worked with Kilgore under superintendent Donnal Ash.
“We had a good working relationship, the staff at central office,” Kilgore said. “I will miss them terribly.”
County school district superintendent Don Randolph said Kilgore will be sorely missed.
“She was an outstanding employee who put the children’s need first,” he said. “She did what the law indicated we must do for our children.
“She identified special needs children through Child Find (identification of children in need of early intervention) and provided services for them and assisted their parents in carrying out their part of the plan. She established a lot of continuity (in services rendered) over the years.”
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