West Jones honors retiring faculty

Retirees honored from L to R: Sharon Brown, Regina Reddoch, Craig Winship, Scott Pierson, James "Bud" Blackledge (Not Pictured: Sabrina Mauldin)

On Wednesday, May 24th, West Jones held a Retirement Reception honoring six of their faculty who are retiring this year: James “Bud” Blackledge, football coach; Sharon Brown, middle school inclusion teacher; Sabrina Mauldin, high school counselor; Scott Pierson, head football coach and athletic director; Regina Reddoch, English teacher; and Craig Winship, soccer coach and math teacher.

The reception was held in the school’s cafeteria which was full of fellow staff and faculty along with family members of each of the retirees.

Tommy Parker, Jones County School District Superintendent, spoke a few words regarding the importance of the careers represented in the room before presenting each of the retirees with a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the school district.

“You probably cannot count the number of lives that each one of you who stand before students has touched in your career,” stated Parker. “I just want to say how much I appreciate you and your commitment to the kids, to the kids in the county, and to the people in this county. You’ve not only taught them a subject but acted as a role model for them.” Parker continued that each person being honored “exemplified all of the values that every one of us strive for.” Parker himself will also be retiring this year.

Cooper Pope, Supervising Principal for West Jones, also recognized each of the retirees and shared various highlights that each member had contributed over their time at West. He talked about how much of an impact Coach Blackledge had on students by taking time to intentionally speak with them before leaving for practice; how Mrs. Brown’s gift for being with her inclusion students went above and beyond in immeasurable ways; how Mrs. Mauldin handled the complexity of counseling eleventh and twelfth graders through academics and ranking with such care; how Coach Pierson knew how to draw greatness out of not only students but parents and the community, as well as not just continuing an old tradition of greatness, but building upon it; how Mrs. Reddoch was an impact maker who’s influence is measured in growth and proficiency, as well as how she had mentored other teachers; and how Winship had such an impact on others through his role in the classroom and on the field, and how he showed his heart for others in creating a virtual hockey league at West during Covid to lift everyone’s spirits.

Coach Pierson also shared his gratitude for his coworkers in the room: “They say it takes a village to raise a kid. I—'Bud’ included—can’t thank everybody enough for helping me do this job. There is no way this program or this school would be half of what it is without you guys for what you did for me and this school.”

Various representatives of the retirees’ respective departments presented them with personalized gifts. Both Parker and Pope wished each of the members a long and happy retirement and expressed gratitude for the impact they made throughout their careers.