For close to 50 years, Elaine Faircloth Beatty has been greeting children, staff, and visitors in Roseboro’s schools, first at Charles E. Perry then at Roseboro Elementary. However, when students and staff leave school this year on Dec. 19 for Christmas break, they will be saying goodbye to Beatty’s familiar face since the longtime Sampson County Schools’ employee is retiring.
As she looks forward to her retirement, Beatty couldn’t help but also reflect on her 48 years of work in education — 46 years spent at Charles E. Perry, now the county schools’ alternative school and learning center, and the last two spent at Roseboro Elementary — and how it all got started.
Beatty was born on Oct. 5, 1947 and was raised on a farm in Salemburg. When she started school, she first attended Rose Hill School in Salemburg but eventually transferred to Roseboro’s Charles E. Perry where she completed grades 3-12, graduating in 1965.
Following her high school graduation, she enrolled in Sampson Community College, then called Sampson Technical School, to further her education in business. However, her former principal Calvin E. Johnson wanted her to come back to Charles E. Perry.
“He came to my house and told me he had a job for me,” shared Beatty of how she became the school’s bookkeeper and secretary in 1966. “During my junior and senior years in high school I had worked in the office a couple of hours a day.”
She married Gene Thomas Beatty a couple of years later, in 1968, and continued to enjoy her work at the school, taking care of purchase orders and payroll while also answering phones and serving as the face of the school, greeting people as they entered the door.
“I’ve always liked getting good reports,” she noted in an interview late last week, pointing to a recent audit report that read “good books” and “no problems found.”
Beatty shared that she also values the opportunity she had to work with numerous principals during her long career. In addition to working for her former principal Johnson, she also worked for Thomas A. Hood, John A. Blanton, Alfonza H. Williamson, Pamela B. Westbrook, O.C. Holland, Peggy Carter, Timothy Lee, and Donald W. Boykin at Charles E. Perry. When Roseboro Elementary was built in 2012 and students and staff moved to the new facility, she continued to work under Boykin until present principal Tonya Colwell took the helm of the school this past January.
“I’ve enjoyed working for all of them,” she shared, adding that over the years she has seen many changes, not only ones in personnel but also ones centering around increased budget concerns and ramped up security. “I’m going to miss all the staff. I’ve met many good, true friends. They’re like my second family.”
“And I’ll miss the children,” Beatty continued, noting that she has always liked helping the youngsters. “I’ll miss them calling me ‘Mrs. Baby’ because they can’t get ‘Beatty.’”
She compared the transition out of work and into retirement to that of transitioning from Charles E. Perry to Roseboro Elementary. “The new school is roomy, colorful; it’s a beautiful school but it was hard to leave (Charles E. Perry). The memories I just won’t ever forget.”
As she finishes her last days serving from behind the front desk of Roseboro Elementary, Beatty is looking forward to her bittersweet retirement, focusing on all the the things she will soon get to enjoy rather than on saying goodbye.
“I’m looking forward to whatever I may have missed out on while I was working all these years,” she said, “like going on a cruise or trip.”
A fishing enthusiast, she is also anticipating more time for casting her line in local ponds, something she described as a “very relaxing” hobby.
In addition to fishing , Beatty is also an avid NASCAR fan, having attended the Pepsi 400 in Daytona, Fla. in 2001. “I’m going to go to some races,” she said. “I just like to watch them.”
She also wants to use her retirement as a time to help others. “I want to spend time with some seniors and visit the sick. I might even cook them a meal or something. It’s something I’ve not been able to do much before.”
As the Roseboro Elementary family prepares to bid Beatty farewell in about a week, Colwell pointed out that the school would be losing one of its most memorable characters.
“First of all, she’s just…well there’s only one Elaine Beatty,” Colwell said, mentioning Beatty’s distinctive voice. “It’s been a joy working with her. I’ve known her for years but never had the opportunity to work with her until the past year. She’s well-known in the community and likewise she knows everybody. She works from the heart, is very efficient at her job, and shows a lot of concern for the school and community. She also has a wonderful way with the kids.”
“For anyone to work as long as she has says a lot about them; it says a lot about her and her dedication to the school and community and to education in general. When they put your name in the floor of the gym (at Charles E. Perry), that says something too. She definitely won’t be forgotten,” Colwell continued. “She’s made a lasting impression on me and I just wish we could have crossed paths sooner.”
“I just thank the Lord for blessing me to be able to work this long,” said Beatty, “and I hope the Lord will continue to bless me so that I can enjoy my retirement years.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.