I’m retiring

Office Associate Retirement OLHS

“I’m retiring after 37 years – 23 have been here at Ocean Lakes High School. Before that, I was working in the technical and career education office when it was vocational education. I was typing curriculum guides for the vocational classes and purchase orders for the equipment and furniture needed to set up classrooms. Throughout the years, I have had the pleasure of working in many aspects of the school division including helping open two new schools, Birdneck Elementary and Ocean Lakes. My jobs ranged from cafeteria monitor to teacher assistant to library assistant to secretary for 14 years before I became part of the Dolphin Family as the office manager and secretary to the principal. I love meeting new teachers and students and being able to assist them whenever possible. I will miss the daily interaction with people I see every day and the friends I have made over the years. Time has flown by quickly, and now it’s time to relax, travel, and focus on family and home. It has been a wonderful experience working for Virginia Beach Schools, and I will miss the moments that become fond memories.”


I’ve been playing violin for five years


“I’ve been playing violin for five years. I was actually watching an episode of Spongebob and I saw them doing this sad violin because the crab wanted to see this island but couldn’t and I said, ‘Alright, I want to play the violin.’ But I had to learn to play piano, because my parents didn’t believe that I would practice. So I practiced every day so I could learn to play violin. So, Spongebob was your musical inspiration? Yeah. Sweet.”


I played four sports

4 sports 8th grade athlete VBMS

“I played four sports last year and I played three sports this year, not including the sports I play outside of school. Last year I played basketball, softball, volleyball and soccer, and this year I played soccer, softball and volleyball. Athletics in general are important to me because of the feeling you get when you play sports and you do something right and you hear everybody cheering your name. Or you hear someone saying to you, “Oh my gosh, great game!” or, “That was amazing! I’ve never seen anyone your age do that.” To have someone compare you to someone higher up on your skill set, it gives you a rush and a confidence boost in every way. You can’t be shy about it. You know you have to be good at something. It drives you.”


I want to be a landscaper

Green Friendly Neighborhoods Option 2 - Tallwood Junior

“I want to be a landscaper when I grow up. My dad owns a business. I’ve learned so much from my dad. I started on 72-inch lawn mowers when I was 8 years old. It’s always been a passion. I like looking at houses and just picturing in my head what I could do to it to make it into a beautiful house. I always have that picture in my head of how I could change how something looks and make it into my own piece. It’s been a really nice experience to work with my dad, and then you meet so many people and make connections through the field of landscaping. Everybody needs landscaping in their yard.”


I love acting

Acting and Poetry Tallwood senior

“I love acting; I love poetry and making music specifically because it allows me to interpret things other people want to say. It allows me to express the emotions that maybe other people are feeling. I really enjoy that. I went into poetry almost as a psychiatric thing as far as trying to help people get through mental breakthroughs and breakdowns even to help them to get to the breakthrough point. That’s really my dream for the future — to make an impact, honestly, because we all only have one chance at this. What makes me happy is to see other people happy, so I’ve used these artistic grounds to basically build a foundation for others so they can either be on the same level of happiness or get through something they’re going through.”


In seventh grade

Hard Work VBMS SPED teacher

“In seventh grade we talk a lot about goals and wanting to know what we want to be when we grow up and how we can get there. I thought about that for myself, and I feel like I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today. This is only my third year teaching. I came to teaching a little bit later in life. I also have goals. I put myself through my master’s degree program and buying my own house this year was a huge deal. I’m proud of where I am. I work hard. I hope my students see that in me. I really value our relationships, and I hope one day someone will come back and say, ‘Hey, Ms. K, I’m doing great! Just this one thing you said to me I really liked.'”


I love to surf

KLODS surfs up girl

“I love to surf actually. Both my brothers grew up surfing at the beach, and I’d ride with them. Then, once I got old enough to ride, I got my own board. It was just a way for me to get closer to them and spend time with family. When you’re surfing it’s your whole focus. You don’t have to think about anything else. You don’t have to worry about stuff. It’s relaxing. It’s a way to let loose.

I’ve surfed in Hawaii. It’s crazy! The surf there is a lot more fun I think. The only thing I was worried about it is when you fall off the board or jump off there’s a lot of coral. The sharks never really bothered me, just the coral.”


When I get older

Entrepreneurship or therapist 8thGrader CLMS

“When I get older, I want to be an entrepreneur. I’m going to the academy at Kempsville next year, the Entrepreneurship and Business Academy. If I follow the right the path, I will get an associate degree in business. And from there, I really want to go Harvard or Yale and get a bigger degree in business. Then I want to start a small business and grow it into a corporation. My other option is to be a therapist because I want to talk to people about their problems in life. I feel like if there are younger kids who have issues, I can help them talk through getting better.”


This summer I am going to

Summer in Morocco Tallwood junior

“This summer I am going to Morocco. I saw this Global Navigator program and thought I would apply. Why not? But there was no way I was going to be able to go if I didn’t get a scholarship. I applied for Morocco and for the scholarship, and I got a scholarship for the full experience. It’s all paid for. And, to me, it’s more than just getting to go on a great trip. I hope I can use it in my future because I want to study health and Middle Eastern relations. We’re going to be learning Arabic. I’m so excited! I want to inspire other people to apply. People should be applying for these things because nobody applies, and it’s an amazing opportunity. I think everyone should get to travel abroad. We’re going to volunteer there and do fun things as well. Traveling opens your mind to new cultures, and especially the Middle Eastern cultures which are so complex and interesting. I think it’s really worth everyone traveling there.”


I always say

8th grade beach artist VBMS

“I always say, ‘Art is everything and anything.’ Everywhere you look there is always art. It could be a stool or an actual painting. Everything in this room is art. Art is important to me because it helps me show who I am as a person. If you look at all my art it has a theme to it; it’s always about the beach somehow. In every single piece I always include something about the beach because I love the beach and that’s who I am. I even go there to create art because I always get inspired there and at the boardwalk. I also get inspired by other people around me, especially my friends and the art program and my teachers. When you create art, find something that is very inspirational to you.”


The best part of my job

Retiree Karen Haddaway%2c Art Teacher%2c Kemps Landing-Old Donation School

“The best part of my job for 40 years as the art teacher is that to most elementary students, I am a rock star! Kids love art and love to experience whatever you have for them on that day. How could it get any better than that? That is certainly a contributing factor in connecting with the students. Seeing their bright excited faces and the thrill they exude when experiencing the manipulation of materials and techniques is probably the best part of the job. Working in a superior learning environment with colleagues that are talented, dedicated teachers who are excited to collaborate, and administrators who are respectful and support the art program, has been instrumental in making my 40 years of teaching rewarding and the best job ever.”



For 40 years

Retiree Ed Gibbs%2c Teacher%2c Three Oaks ES

“For 40 years, I emphasized the love of learning over a lifetime. I wanted the children to be readers and writers. I wanted the children to enjoy good stories and to connect the stories with their world. Foremost, I wanted children to reach and stretch their learning as far as they could in a challenging environment. I will miss the challenge of figuring out what makes each child ‘tick.’ I consider myself a keen observer of children and tried to gear the program and even my interactions to meet the needs of the children. I wanted to make sure that each child received a daily dose of encouragement, smiles and understanding. When a student needed more encouragement, I tried to be there for the child.”



My 42 year career

Retiree Ed Jones%2c Human Resources

“My 42-year career has always been to make things better for others and to make their jobs easier. As a teacher, make school better for my students by working to make my classroom exciting and educational at the same time. As principal, to make school safe and welcoming for my students and staff.  As the Director of Employment Services, to serve all VBCPS employees and future employees to help them carry out the mission of VBCPS…You could not ask for a better employer. VBCPS is a nationally recognized school division that treats its employees with respect and honors their role in providing the best educational experience for the children of Virginia Beach.”



ella williams


Retiree Ella Williams Music Teacher Indian Lakes

“I’m retiring after 41 years of teaching elementary school music. The best part of my job over the years has been selecting shy students who are unsuccessful in the academics, and when given an opportunity to shine in front of their peers by singing or playing a musical instrument, it builds their confidence in other areas. I am proud of the fact that there are thousands of young people who love and enjoy music today as a result of being involved in the music program of my school and other schools that they have transferred to. I will miss coming to school daily and being energized by my lovely students who bring me so much joy and laughter. I will miss my wonderful administrators, staff, parents and other colleagues that I consider to be a part of my extended family.”

What advice do you have for those you leave behind?

“Advice?  Continue to love and respect each other as colleagues, working harmoniously together for the success of our students who are depending on us to equip them for their future. Remember, it truly does take all of us to care for these precious ones who will make us proud in the future.”



I’ve been a physical education assistant for 41 years

Retiree Deborah Olds, PE Asst., Birdneck ES

“I’ve been a physical education assistant for 41 years. The best part of my job is to have students come back after high school and ask if I am still there or they come by the gym and say hello and some even tell me they have children at the school where I am teaching and please look out for them. Even some parents come back and say take care of the grand kids now. When I tell them I’m retiring they said, ‘No, you can’t go, I have another one for you to look out for.'”



“I’ve played all around the world, but playing the bagpipes at graduation is a rare privilege. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. I started it as a Kellam parent when I was still in the Marines. Mr. Biehl called me one day and said that the senior class wanted a bagpiper and he’d heard I was one. That first year, my son graduated and my daughter the year after that, so I got to play for them both before I started teaching here.”



“I’ve been a part of VBCPS


“I’ve been a part of VBCPS for the past 12 years. To me, graduating is just basically a mark in the road as to how I’ve grown and progressed to where I am today. You know 12 years, a lot can happen in those 12 years, especially as you’re going from 6 years old to 18 years old. There’s so much you can change and so much you can transform as a person. Starting from elementary school, you really just want to fit in and be like everyone else. And, then in middle school, it’s kind of the same thing and there’s even more pressure on top of that. But, then, once you get to high school, you really just find your clique and who you belong with. And, you really grow as a person and find who you really are and who you want to be. I think that’s what graduating means. It’s having that confidence in yourself and becoming who you really are and who you want to be in the future.”