By Sarah Plummer
The Raleigh County School District has had several long-term employees retire over the last two years — from service personnel to the superintendent.
This summer, the board of education bids farewell to assistant superintendents Janet Lilly and Racine Thompson Jr., who together represent more than 75 years of experience in education.
“We wish them well in retirement. They have made a definite impact on Raleigh County Schools. Janet Lilly started the first pre-k program in the county and has been a strong advocate for early education. What we have today is a direct reflection of her dedication,” commented Board President Richard Snuffer. “Racine Thompson has had a large part in the building and remodeling of several schools and has always kept our facilities a top priority.”
Sandra Trent, director of federal programs for Raleigh County Schools, said, as an educator, Lilly was “innovative, creative, energetic and truly a person with great passion for our kids and the public school system.”
Lilly came to Raleigh County Schools as a principal at Bradley Elementary in 1989 but worked in Monongalia and Wetzel counties prior.
Trent said she expects Lilly’s most lasting legacy, through her work as principal and assistant superintendent, was “making schools a great place for kids to be and for parents to feel welcome. She was always an advocate for teachers, parents and kids.”
Trent added that Lilly was a major advocate of the arts, promoting music and arts in schools.
“She was always concerned about meeting the needs of the whole child and wanted us to look at each child to make sure they had enough to eat and had what they needed to be successful,” she shared.
Thompson, who came to Raleigh County in 1969 from Roane County, also started out as a principal and Gary Nichols, principal of Shady Spring, credits him for giving him the chance to step into administration.
“I’m grateful for him going out on a limb, stepping out of the normal protocol for hiring administrators, and speaking for me,” Nichols said.
“He was always very professional, very conscientious of his job and always worked to do everything he could to support and help individual teachers and schools. He will be greatly missed,” he said.
He added that Thompson was always concerned about making sure school facilities stayed top-notch, working to get things fixed without disrupting the regular schedule.