Wayne County Public Schools recently recognized 69 retiring employees, representing a cumulative 1,708 years in the education profession.

As the school year wraps up, the district's annual recognition ceremony is a sad but joyous occasion, said Dr. Yvette Smith Mason, assistant superintendent for human resources.

"While we know those employees will be missed, we are excited to honor them for their service to our schools and their contributions to North Carolina public education," she said.

Mrs. Mason, along with Jacqueline Green, president of the Wayne County Retired Educators Association, expressed appreciation to the retirees for their hard work and dedication to education.

As part of the program, each was presented with a plaque by Wayne County Board of Education vice-chair, Jennifer Strickland.

The latest pool of retiring staff members included three principals -- Carole Battle from Wayne Middle/High Academy, who has 40 years in the profession; Rolanda Best of Greenwood Middle School, with 29 and one-half years; and Dr. John Boldt of Southern Wayne High School, with 30 years.

The remaining honorees were the following:

*Monica Applewhite, data manager, Meadow Lane Elementary

*Debbie Bailey, bookkeeper, Rosewood High

*Penny Baker, Meadow Lane Elementary teacher

*Denise Ballance, Norwayne Middle teacher

*Janice Barnes, Eastern Wayne Middle teacher

*Gena Batts, Eastern Wayne Elementary counselor

*Connie Bennett, child nutrition at Grantham Elementary

*Lisa Boykin, North Drive Elementary teacher

*Kimberly Brogden, Charles B. Aycock social worker

*Sherlene Bryant, child nutrition at Carver Heights Elementary

*Cherryl Bryson, instruction assistant, Spring Creek Elementary

*Carrie Burger, CBA teacher

*Debbie Capps, Spring Creek Elementary instructional assistant

*Annie Chasten, bus driver/child nutrition at Carver Elementary

*Kay Darden, Grantham Middle child nutrition

*Charles Davis, CBA teacher

*Diane Delpapa, Rosewood Middle teacher

*Emma Elliott, Eastern Wayne Elementary instructional assistant

*Daphne Everett, Rosewood Elementary instructional assistant

*John Fonvielle, Southern Wayne teacher

*Karen Fulkerson, Mount Olive Middle teacher

*Obeda Gainey, Grantham Middle custodian

*Karen Garris, Eastern Wayne High media coordinator

*Eileen Gauthier, School Street media coordinator

*Glenda Godwin-Jones, Brogden Primary teacher

*Ricky Grantham, Rosewood Middle teacher

*Bertha Greenfield-Barfield, Eastern Wayne Middle cafeteria manager

*Rachel Hagwood, CBA teacher

*Amy Heyward, Greenwood Middle teacher

*LaVone Hicks, Carver teacher

*Evelyn Hill, Rosewood Elementary child nutrition

*Nancy Holland, MOM child nutrition

*Patricia Holmes, Greenwood Middle teacher

*Debra Hughes, Carver teacher

*Amelia Humphrey, Rosewood High distance learning facilitator

*Sharon Jackson, Wayne Middle/High instructional assistant

*Sonia Jordan, Rosewood High teacher

*Teresa Kilpatrick, Spring Creek Elementary teacher

*Pamela King, Southern Wayne career development coordinator

*Mary Lambert, MOM teacher

*Gwendolyn Lee, Dillard Middle cafeteria assistant

*Peggy Lee, Grantham Elementary instructional assistant

*Denise Meachem, Spring Creek High social worker

*Cheryl Mitchell, Eastern Wayne Elementary teacher

*Rebecca Mozingo, Fremont STARS Elementary instructional assistant.

*Johnnie Murray, central office custodian

*Kittie Parrish, CBA cafeteria manager

*Donna Phillips, Eastern Wayne Middle teacher

*Jerome Powers, Brogden Middle teacher

*Gracie Ragland, Edgewood instructional assistant

*Carolyn Raynor, Edgewood cafeteria manager

*Mary Revis, Edgewood instructional assistant

*Donald Rouse, Eastern Wayne Middle teacher

*Connie Seymour, Rosewood Middle teacher

*Beulah Shealy, Eastern Wayne Elementary teacher

*Pamela Sheffield, Carver social worker

*Colette Sherard, Exceptional Children's Dept. evaluation analyst

*Kathy Sullivan, Norwayne Middle cafeteria manager

*Cynthia Tewes, Meadow Lane cafeteria manager

*Lloyd Thompson, Grantham Middle custodian

*Salaama Wadud, Grantham Elementary teacher

*Lisa Wagner, Eastern Wayne High teacher

*Kathy Walker, Northwest Elementary teacher

*Richard Wall, Rosewood Elementary custodian

*Jeffrey Waller, Eastern Wayne High teacher

*Richard West, transportation dept. mechanic.