|Mon, Sep 22, 2014 02:09 AM
|Issue of September 17, 2014
June 18, 2014 | 02:40 PM
After 37 years in the education field, or as she would say — the education family — school is almost out forever for Dr. Beverley Garrison.
For the last nine years, Garrison has been the director of the Harrison County Exceptional Learners Cooperative, which helps those with exceptional learning needs in all three of the Harrison County school corporations.
Dr. Beverley Garrison
The cooperative's mission is to support and collaborate with local districts to provide effective and appropriate education to all students but particularly to those with exceptional learning needs within Harrison County public schools. The cooperative provides legal, technical and moral support for special-needs teachers in the three school districts.
Garrison said all three districts have accepted her into their families.
"It's bittersweet, but it's time," Garrison said of her retirement. "It's been a fun 37 years. I've worked with some really good kids. I'm going to miss everyone in the office; we've been a good team."
She said she'll miss everything about her job, especially the people.
"I'll miss the kids even though I haven't been in a classroom for the past 12 years," Garrison said. "And the parents, too. I get to be really good friends with these parents."
The cooperative serves students age 3 through 22.
"If you go into their classroom, you can't walk out not feeling good," Garrison said. "We've just got really neat kids."
Garrison said the recently added preschool program continues to grow as the overall number of exceptional learners in the county increases.
"We do everything we can to get what the kids need," she said of the cooperative. "It's a testament to our teachers that parents say they move to Harrison County because they know the kids will get what they need."
Garrison said a lot has changed within the field of education since she entered it. She specifically mentioned school shootings, which are almost a weekly occurrence.
"You wouldn't even think about it when I started," she said of the occurrences.
She also said a curse word or two may have been heard back then, but now students say them so often they don't know they're doing it.
When it was mandated that public schools provide education to those with special needs (in 1978), she said parents were extremely grateful.
"Now, they want us to do everything," she said.
Garrison plans to work around her home in New Salisbury that she shares with her husband, travel (including to their favorite spot, Savannah, Ga.) and spend time with their family. She also wants to discover more about her family history.
Garrison, who began her career in education at North Harrison in 1978, will work her last day June 30. Bruce Kulwicki, the current assistant director, will then take over the director position.
There will be a retirement celebration Sunday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Lanesville Heritage Community Center for Garrison.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot of the kids," she said. "Some of them just really stay with you."