Thu, April 09

Beginning of the End<br><i>McBride reflects on 25 years at Beaver Creek</i>

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

Beaver Creek School superintendent and principal Judy McBride announced her retirement recently to the School Board. Her last day will be July 1, 2004.

In a succinct letter submitted to the Beaver Creek School Board, McBride announced her plans to retire, but she will finish out the year. Her last day will be July 1, 2004.

"Beaver Creek School is my second family," McBride said. "They have been wonderful, but I think that 25 years is long enough."

She said that after she catches her breath, she wants to travel for a while, then plans to teach adult literacy or English to non-English speaking adults on a part-time basis.

McBride said she has been the principal and superintendent of Beaver Creek School since 1984. She started as a volunteer teacher in 1977 and was hired full-time for the 1978-79 school year where she taught fifth and sixth grade.

The Beaver Creek School was founded as a district in 1881, and enjoys a 122-year heritage in the Rimrock area.

McBride said that she really likes the history of the school and of the area and hopes that the school maintains its sense of its history.

A seasoned educator, McBride has taught sixth grade in Indiana, fourth grade in California, has worked with educational television with the Peace Corps in Bogata, Columbia, and taught Spanish for dependants of U.S. Navy personnel at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

She also was a teacher to the Cuban children of civilians who lived on the naval base.

She said that in the 1970s, with the tropical air bristling with political tension, her experiences in Cuba were interesting to say the least.

"My first day in Cuba, the military took us in a tank and showed us where the mine fields were," she said. "On the hillsides, we could see the Cuban bunkers with big guns pointing at us."

Still, that didn't dampen her taste for Latin culture, having traveled most of the South American continent until she finally settled in Beaver Creek School.

W.O. Palmer, Beaver Creek School Board member, said McBride worked long hours, weekends and nights doing the job of principal, superintendent and vice-principal.

"She did so much of the work herself. It's really amazing how she juggled the tasks and managed to come up with the money to keep school operations in order," he said. "Her announcing her plans for retirement wasn't a surprise and she is giving us plenty of time to find a replacement, but we hate to see her go."

Palmer said that McBride had discussed her retirement with the Board on several occasions in the last two or three years but kept working.

"She'll be hard to replace," he added. "We will have a tough decision to make."

Palmer added that the Arizona School Board Association is going to assist in finding a replacement for McBride and will be at the board's work session on Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

"We discussed it many times prior to receiving the letter," he said. "We joked with her saying that we wouldn't let her retire because we could never replace her. She has been very dedicated to the school."

McBride said that one of her most memorable accomplishments at Beaver Creek School was when the school and the community passed a $1.8 million bond to build 12 classrooms and the administration building.

"We have such a good rapport with the community and enjoy a wonderful relationship that the community became involved because they understood that the need was there and what the school was going through," she said. "The bond allowed us to handle the growth over the last six years."

Norma Dieffenbach is the Beaver Creek School Board president.

She said that she too, laments McBride's retiring.

"I'm sorry she is going to retire. She has been a marvelous superintendent and principal," she said. "Her experience is invaluable to the school, but I think that she deserves to retire and I can't blame her for that."

Diffenbach said that McBride's replacement would probably have to handle the same duties of the former principal/superintendent, simultaneously.

"We probably won't be able to afford to split up the position," she said. "That is one reason Ms. McBride will be so difficult to replace. She did both."

Diffenbach said that though change is inevitable, she and the school board will definitely miss McBride.

"She has been so well-versed in our budget scenario and in the classroom that it will be difficult to find someone else like her," she said. "We are really going to miss her."

In a transition such as a retirement, there are many things that would be missed by someone who has spent a good portion of their life doing, but McBride said, most of all, she will miss the daily interaction with people, the parents, the staff and the students.

"I appreciate people and I love working with them," she said. "I think most of all, I'll miss all of the activity — the staff and the kids."

The School Board will hold a special work session with members of the Arizona School Board Association to discuss a replacement or how to deviate the workload. The meeting will be on Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

"I really consider it a privilege to have been able to work at Beaver Creek," McBride said. "It will be difficult to leave but there are other good people who will take my place."

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