Marcia Long enjoyed a big day on Wednesday.
First, she was honored at the Effingham County Board of Education meeting as the school district’s special education teacher of the year.
A couple hours later, she was recognized at a ceremony honoring 25 employees retiring from the Effingham County School System.
Long taught for 21 years, all in Effingham County. At 65 years old, she said the time is right to retire.
“I would really like to keep on, but I’ve got some things I want to do,” Long said.
Namely, she wants to travel. She plans to pack up her motor home and travel trailer and “hit the road,” starting with a trip to visit friends in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Long worked as a speech language pathologist at Effingham County Middle, Effingham County High and, most recently, Ebenezer Middle. She described special education as “near and dear to her heart.”
“I just loved working with those kids,” Long said. “I love to see the progress. The progress is the main thing, even if it’s baby steps.”
Stacy Boyett, coordinator of exceptional students for Effingham County schools, said the school system was “blessed to have her for 21 years.”
“As an SLP, communication may be her objective but lifelong success for her students is her goal,” Boyett said of Long. “She has touched hundreds, even thousands of lives by providing a true model of what a great educator is — dependable, trustworthy, faithful and a team player.”
Along with Long, the school board recognized 11 other special education teachers for their contributions to Effingham County schools: Mallory Bailey, Mary Ann Callaway, Jeannie Dukarski, Pam Joyner, Sara Kieffer, Nadia Ramser, LeAnn Reinholt, Wendi Rhodes, Mary Kay Schaffer, Traci Whitaker and Megan Yardley.
“Each of these individuals plays a huge part of the students’ journey as they are in school,” Boyett said.
Yardley praised Long for her ability every day to help students with a range of abilities and needs.
“She’s very versatile,” Yardley said. “Not only does she work with special education as you think of, she works with students who are very low to students who are very high, and jumps back and forth all day.”