School personnel from William Byrd Middle School, W.E. Cundiff Elementary, and Mount Pleasant Elementary were recognized by the School Board at the 2018 Roanoke County Retirement banquet on May 23.
Five members of the faculty and staff from William Byrd Middle School are retiring this year: Doris Artusio, Teresa Corprew, Benita Houff, Edrow Lewis, and Larry Long.
Teresa Corprew teaches eighth grade physical science at WBMS. She has worked at the middle school for 16 years and with Roanoke County schools for a total of 17 years. She taught elementary school in Bedford County prior to that.
Corprew has two grown children who both graduated from William Byrd High School, and now has one grandson at WBMS and one at Herman L. Horn Elementary.
Corprew is planning on a move to Myrtle Beach this summer.
“I hope to get my private pilot license current again once I move and do a little more flying than I’ve been able to do recently,” said Corprew. “I look forward to a trip to Italy in the spring of 2019 and a trip with my family to Austria in September of 2019.
“My mother and father provided the encouragement and support for me to become a teacher,” said Corprew. “Sadly, my father passed away in February of this year and did not get to attend the lovely retirement dinner Roanoke County Public Schools provided for retirees in May. However, I was blessed to have my mother and stepfather, my children and grandchildren there to celebrate with me.”
Corprew says the greatest joy in her career has been the children.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to help them grow,” she said. “My colleagues and administrators throughout the years have provided inspiration and wisdom.”
Benita Houff is retiring from her position teaching math at WBMS. This year she taught Pre-AP Geometry.
“I began at William Byrd Junior in January 1982 and then made the move to the middle school when it opened in 1989, for a total of 36.5 years,” said Houff. “I have taught in Roanoke County for a total of 39 years. The first 2.5 years were at Andrew Lewis Junior High– Andrew Lewis Junior was part of the county at that time. My first year of teaching math was in Fauquier County.
“My husband, Jim, is a retired Vinton police officer,” said Houff. “He is now working part-time as a school bus driver for Roanoke County Schools. We have three children.
“I plan on traveling, sewing, substituting, and tutoring next year,” Houff said. “As far as my job is concerned, I cannot imagine doing anything else. Each day is different, never boring. I love working with the students. WBMS is like family.”
Larry Long has taught health and physical education in grades six, seven, and eight at WBMS. He has worked for Roanoke County Schools for a total of 38 years, including positions at Glenvar High School, Cave Spring Junior High, and W.E. Cundiff, Bonsack, and Roland E. Cook Elementary Schools. He has taught at William Byrd Middle School for 25 years.
He and his wife Carla, who retired from Roanoke County Schools after 34 years, have two daughters, Caitlyn and Kelli.
“What I enjoyed most over the years is that I always had an opportunity to coach,” said Long. “I coached many sports– football, wrestling, and swimming– but most of my career I coached baseball at Glenvar High School and Roanoke College. I did enjoy the teams that were the most talented, but I also had my best coaching come through with the average-talented teams that seemed to come together to accomplish great things.”
Edrow Lewis is retiring from his position as building manager at William Byrd Middle. He has worked for Roanoke County for 24 years— five years at Cave Spring Middle and 19 years at WBMS.
Lewis said he’s asking the Lord to bless him with a mowing business for his “retirement.” He’s also going to work on his antique 1967 Chevy pickup and restore it. He says he is also going to stay at home with his wife and “take care of her.” He’s enjoyed working at WBMS and enjoyed working with the people there. He appreciated the county giving him the opportunity to work there.
“May God bless everyone,” said Lewis.
Doris Artusio is retiring from her position as an instructional assistant at WBMS.
Bonnie Hartman is retiring as an instructional assistant at Mount Pleasant Elementary.
W.E. Cundiff is losing three members of the staff to retirement. Cynthia Wright has worked in building operations; Anna Laucher has worked as an instructional assistant, and Margarete Thompson has served as a nutrition associate.
Thompson has worked at WEC for 11 years in a full time/part-time capacity. When she turned 65, she took her VRS retirement since she was no longer in a covered position, was off one month, and then went back to work in the same full time/part-time position.
She has worked for Roanoke County Schools for a total of 16 years— for six months at Roland E. Cook, and the remainder at WEC.
“I was born in Germany and came to the United States in 1970,” said Thompson. “I married a service man, Thomas McSherry, and had two children, Michael and Daniel, who both attended W.E. Cundiff and graduated from William Byrd High School. After my first husband passed away, I married Barry Thompson (Vinton’s town manager). We have nine grandchildren between us.”
“I plan to continue to work another two years but travel when possible,” added Thompson. “I try to return to my home in Germany every two years to visit my brother, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.”
As for what she has enjoyed about her work, Thompson says, “I have enjoyed making a difference in the children’s lives. I have also enjoyed working with all the staff.”