Celebrating VBCPS retirees

Christopher Farms Elementary School’s (CFES) marquee bid a fond farewell to students and staff for the summer months.

For CFES art teacher Sheila Escajeda, the end of this school year marks a new beginning indeed. She is retiring after 40 years of service to Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS).

“I’ve been in school since I was 6 years old!” she remarked.

A graduate of Princess Anne High School who completed her student teaching at College Park Elementary School, Escajeda was hired in 1977 to teach art to VBCPS students.

“I was part-time at Creeds for two days and three days at Kempsville Elementary. I did that for three years and then Kempsville became a full-time position.” In subsequent years, with shifting student populations and allocations, she also spent time teaching art at Centerville and Rosemont elementary schools. When Christopher Farms opened in 1997, Escajeda greeted students as their art teacher and has welcomed CFES students every year since.

“It is a job I truly have loved or I wouldn’t have stayed with it for so long. I get emotional just thinking about it,” she said before pausing to hold back tears. “I never thought I would do this for 40 years. I did 30 and I kept thinking, ‘Well, I can do this one more year.’ Then, ‘I can do this another year.’ Now 10 years have passed and it is one of the best jobs in the world.”

Escajeda’s retirement plans include preparing for her daughter’s October wedding and traveling with her sister, Rose Brew, who is also retiring this year from Bayside High School with 39 years of service.

“We both need knee replacements so we might do that together and then do sister trips,” Escajeda added. Continuing as an adjunct professor at Virginia Wesleyan College and perhaps working as a part-time school art teacher are also part of her plans.

“So, the summer and the beginning of the school year will be busy. After that, it will be hard,” she said.  Though, a tradition among CFES retirees may help make the transition a little easier for Escajeda.

“The retirees come back on that first day of school and help show kids where classes are and stand in the hall,” she explained.

There is one more tradition. “Then they go to breakfast,” said Escajeda laughing.

Breakfast out on a school day? Definitely, a new beginning for Escajeda and all VBCPS retirees.

Congratulations to the more than 350 school division employees who have retired from VBCPS since last summer. They will be recognized at the division’s retirement dinner held June 21 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

The following retirees have 30 or more years of service to VBCPS.

46 Years
Carolyn J. Cox, Coordinator, Department of Technology

45 Years
Carlton L. Hill, Assistant Principal, First Colonial High School

44 Years
Linda L. Milan, School Administrative Associate I, Woodstock Elementary School

43 Years
Raymond L. Hawkins, Custodian III, Head Day, Hermitage Elementary School
Renee M. Hughes, Speech Language Pathologist, Office of Programs for Exceptional Children

42 Years
James R. Allison Jr., Fleet Technician III, Office of Transportation Services

41 Years
Stanley C. McCanna, Sixth Grade Teacher, Great Neck Middle School

40 Years
Rodney J. Burnsworth, Principal, Plaza Middle School
Sheila A. Escajeda, Art Teacher, Christopher Farms Elementary School
Audrey E. Harold, Business Education Teacher, Tallwood High School
Robyn K. Johnson, Art Teacher, Kempsville High School
Stephen R. Marvaso, Assistant Principal, Bayside Elementary School
Francis H. McGrath, English Teacher, Kempsville High School
Minnie E. Nery, Administrative Office Associate II, Office of Safety and Loss Control
Donna R. Schucker, Eighth Grade Teacher, Virginia Beach Middle School

39 Years
Kimberly A. Allison, Office Associate II, Office of Transportation Services
Rose E. Brew, Instructional Technology Specialist, Bayside High School
Margaret H. Harold, Second Grade Teacher, Green Run Elementary School
Jorja K. Jean, Art Teacher, Thoroughgood Elementary School
Donna W. McCanna, Title I Resource Teacher, Birdneck Elementary School

38 Years
Jeffrey W. Cobb, Sixth Grade Teacher, Princess Anne Middle School
Michael A. Maloney, Principal, Malibu Elementary School
Anthony J. Pawlowski, Trade & Industrial Teacher, Technical and Career Education Center
Joyce T. Williams, Speech Language Pathologist, Office of Programs for Exceptional Children

37 Years
Anthony L. Alfonsi, Technology Education Teacher, Frank W. Cox High School
Debra C. Gaskin, Fifth Grade Teacher, Christopher Farms Elementary School
Elizabeth M. Gills, Fifth Grade Teacher, Alanton Elementary School
Clifford V. Hatt, Administrative Coordinator, Office of Student Support Services
Dianne Kinnison, Human Resources Specialist, Department of Human Resources
Claire T. Kroft, Fifth Grade Teacher, Princess Anne Elementary School
Cynthia H. Morgan, Eighth Grade Teacher, Princess Anne Middle School
Maria C. White, Special Education Teacher, Salem High School

36 Years
Gloria S. Harris, Principal, New Castle Elementary School
Pamela A. Pastros, Principal, Thalia Elementary School
David A. Weiss, Social Studies Teacher, Tallwood High School

35 Years
Mary A. McCammon, Third Grade Teacher, Old Donation School
Karen L. Millman, Special Education Teacher, Christopher Farms Elementary School
Monica L. Reilly, Gifted Teacher, Independence Middle School
Mary E. Routten, Fourth Grade Teacher, King’s Grant Elementary School
Dorita M. Thoms, ISS Coordinator, Kempsville Middle School
Brenda Wright-Owens, Fourth Grade Teacher, Trantwood Elementary School

34 Years
Robin J. Baugh, Library Media Specialist, Independence Middle School
Mark B. Carmack, Physical Education Teacher, Malibu Elementary School
Patricia A. Dryer, Administrative Office Associate I, Office of Student Support Services
Christina L. Payne, Mathematics Teacher, Green Run High School
Marilyn W. Wicks, Social Studies Teacher, Kempsville High School

33 Years
Holly J. Coggin, Principal ES, Hermitage ES
Melody U. Copper, Special Education Teacher, Malibu Elementary School
Gregory V. Dunn, English Teacher, Kempsville High School
Janice C. Johnson, Sixth Grade Teacher, Princess Anne Middle School
Nancy H. Lambert, Library Media Specialist, Trantwood Elementary School
Brenda S. McHorney, Library Media Specialist, Strawbridge Elementary School
Janet T. Respass, Third Grade Teacher, Birdneck Elementary School
Brenda D. Samdahl, Family & Consumer Science Teacher, First Colonial High School
Susan M. Young, Eighth Grade Teacher, Corporate Landing Middle School

32 Years
John J. Baumgardner, Instructional Technology Specialist, Kempsville High School
JoAnn C. Baxter, Seventh Grade Teacher, Corporate Landing Middle School
Elizabeth R. Garner, Bus Driver, Office of Transportation Services
Margaret S. Hall, First Grade Teacher, Parkway Elementary School
Joyce A. Hardin, Third Grade Teacher, Creeds Elementary School
Valerie E. Harrison, Custodian I, Night, Office of Student Leadership
Carrell A. Horvath, Sixth Grade Teacher, Landstown Middle School
Joseph G. Panchik, Coordinator, Adult Learning Center
Gary S. Ponton, Transportation Area Supervisor, Office of Transportation Services
Denise L. Rapp, First Grade Teacher, Rosemont Forest Elementary School
Patrick J. Weldon, HVAC Craftsman III, Office of School Plant Services

31 Years
Maysie M. Alder, Music/Vocal Teacher, Kempsville Meadows Elementary School
Joyce A. Cason, School Social Worker, Office of Student Support Services
Elizabeth H. Dreps, English as a Second Language Teacher, Independence Middle School
Kelly A. Hackett, Sixth Grade Teacher, Kempsville Middle School
Lisa D. Hannah, Principal, King’s Grant Elementary School
Diane D. Hernandez, Library Media Assistant, Brookwood Elementary School
Tonya B. Hoggard, Speech Language Pathologist, Office of Programs for Exceptional Children
Ellen R. Hundley, Student Activities Coordinator, Lynnhaven Middle School
Charles J. Johnson, Health & Physical Education Teacher, Independence Middle School
Sally J. Reed, Fourth Grade Teacher, North Landing Elementary School
Lynn A. Teufel, Fourth Grade Teacher, Kingston Elementary School
Elizabeth M. Trievel, First Grade Teacher, Trantwood Elementary School

30 Years
Deborah V. Atkins, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Three Oaks Elementary School
Nancy J. Barbachem, Special Education Teacher, Fairfield Elementary School
Janet A. Brown, Eighth Grade Teacher, Great Neck Middle School
Kathleen A. Denton, Bus Driver, Office of Transportation Services
Helen M. Griffin, Kindergarten Assistant, Birdneck Elementary School
Annesley M. Hackathorn, School Counselor, Rosemont Elementary School
Carmen E. Hernandez, Custodian I, Bayside Elementary School
Jeanne M. Minter, Title II Resource Teacher, Windsor Oaks Elementary School
Gerald W. Moore, Custodian III, Night, Office of Student Support Services
Glynda L. Munro, Special Education Assistant, Birdneck Elementary School
Mary A. Peterson, Physical Therapist, Office of Programs for Exceptional Children
Hilda L. Thomas, Health & Physical Education Teacher, Brandon Middle School
Eileen A. Ware, Second Grade Teacher, Ocean Lakes Elementary School
Tracy L. Wertz, Health & Physical Education Teacher, Landstown Middle School
Joyce M. Wolfe, School Administrative Associate I, Bayside Elementary School

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