Reed: Retiring from Frazier school ‘bittersweet’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Name a job position in elementary school, and Demetria Reed has probably held it.

At Morgantown and McLaurin elementary schools and West and Frazier primary schools, she has held a variety of positions ranging from kindergarten teacher to principal.

That’s not even including the positions she has held at schools in her native Jackson as well as the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas &045; in all, 25 years in the education field.

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But now, it seems, she’s ready to take life at her own pace.

&uot;It’s bittersweet. I hate to leave. But,&uot; Reed added with a sigh and a smile, &uot;it’s just time.&uot;

Being a principal &045; she’s spent four years in that position at Frazier &045; means wearing a variety of hats, Reed explained.

&uot;The principal is the greeter, the one who sets the tone for the school,&uot; Reed said.

Since teachers, staff and students come into the school day with many different moods and from many different situations, the principal must be the one to focus them.

As staff members, teachers and administrators, she said, &uot;we’re here to serve the students and parents the best we can.&uot;

And since her students are so young &045; 497 students in kindergarten through second-grade &045; she must also serve as a surrogate mom some of the time.

&uot;You’re the person who takes students when their day’s not going well and make everything all right,&uot; Reed said.

While educational goals are reached, &uot;you also want to make school a place where they can go and have fun.&uot;

Reed said that she has been proud to be associated with Frazier Primary School during a time when it has implemented several programs that re-enforce lessons but are also fun.

The school’s &uot;courtyard experiences&uot; are weekly games and activities centered around the students’ letter of the week.

For example, the students might play with hula hoops during &uot;H Week,&uot; play golf during &uot;G Week,&uot; or play on a moonwalk ride for &uot;M Week.&uot;

During Reed’s tenure, the school implemented the Barksdale reading instruction program and standardized the way lessons were taught.

Another program, &uot;Take It to the Bank,&uot; helps children learn their letter of the week, poem of the week or Spanish word of the week by placing the word, letter or poem throughout the school.

That repetitive way of getting students to learn is called &uot;banking,&uot; said Reed, who developed the program.

Reed has already received a copyright for &uot;Take It to the Bank&uot; and hopes to compile it in a typed form that can be used by other schools.

By the second or third week in June, after she completes end-of-school paperwork and finished cleaning out her office, Reed will turn her focus toward retirement.

In addition to traveling, Reed plans to work part-time conducting training for principals for the state Department of Education.

But first, Reed said, she wants those who supported her and the school to know much she appreciates them.

The principals she has worked for in the past, she said, &uot;were all visionary, wise, experienced people Š who taught me the do’s and don’ts, how to persevere and maintain.

&uot;The parents, students and teachers have all been supportive, and I’ve worked collaboratively with the central office,&uot; Reed said. &uot;These 25 years have been the most enriching years of my life.&uot;