Leon Elementary School teacher retiring after long-time career
JEWETT, Texas (KBTX) - Thursday was a bittersweet day for Leon Elementary School kindergarten teacher Phyllis Foley. She thought she would simply attend the kindergarten graduation but experienced much more than that.
“I wondered why the principal didn’t talk very much to the parents about what a good job we’ve done over the year and work with them over the summer, but I had no idea that she was gonna do all this talking about me after our graduation,” Phyllis Foley said.
That’s because she’s retiring after 50 years of teaching kindergarten at Leon Elementary. During the graduation, the teacher was honored with a resolution for her service from state Rep. Angelia Orr (District 13) along with a flag that was flown over the state’s capital in her honor.
The kindergarten teacher started the program in 1973 and began that school year with no curriculum or supplies. Phyllis Foley persevered through those challenges and quickly became one of the school’s most beloved teachers.
“I’ll miss the kids,” Phyllis Foley said. “I love the kids. I love going places and seeing my kids that are old now, and it’s so much fun and they remember different things and I remember different things.”
The kindergarten teacher was able to share some of those memories with former students like David Moore as he and many others surprised her during Thursday’s ceremony.
“Good foundation,” Moore said. “Somebody that you can compare everyone else to. She’s as solid as they come.”
Phyllis Foley exemplified these characteristics both inside and outside of the classroom. Her children said they admire their mother’s strength.
“She survived my father having cancer,” Carmen Foley said. “She survived my father having COVID and passing away, and she still was able to come back and teach and now I’m just ready for her next chapter, which is gonna be more family and traveling.”
Even though Phyllis Foley will soon be on the road, she said her heart will always be at Leon Elementary.
“If you cut me, I’ll bleed blue because I love the Leon cougars,” Phyllis Foley said.
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