FORSYTH COUNTY — For nearly 30 years, Ken Fahey has worked for Forsyth County Schools. He’s one of just a handful of teachers who have been at North Forsyth High School since it opened two decades ago.
But after a career in education, Fahey decided to retire at the end of the year.
“I wanted to retire while I’m still doing a good job and not when people want me to leave,” he said during a recent school system ceremony honoring the retirees. “It’s time to step down.”
Fahey is one more than 70 educators retiring from the district this month, a list that includes bus drivers, food service personnel, teachers and two high school principals.
Darla Light, who chairs the board of education, noted that Forsyth Central High Principal Rudy Hampton and Betty Pope, principal at West, will be missed, but their successors likely “won’t miss a beat.”
“They will really move the schools forward,” she said.
On a personal note, it’s going to be difficult for Light to see Hampton — who coached against her in eighth-grade basketball several years ago — leave, though she could say the same for all long-time employees.
“It’s hard to say goodbye because they had such an important role in so many lives,” she said. “I hope they all know how important they are.”
It was just time for husband and wife Mary Jane and George Taylor, Forsyth Central art and Little Mill Middle School teachers, respectively.
“There’s so much to do that we wanted to do,” said George Taylor, who began teaching in 1999 after a career in the business world.
His wife, who’s been teaching since 1975, said it’s going to be “hard to let go of the kids” after so many years in the classroom.
Working as a teacher “kind of keeps you young,” she said. But after 39 years of marriage, the two are planning to spend time with their new grandchild as well as taking some vacation time to the beach and on the West Coast.
As a soon-to-be retired science teacher, Fahey’s plans include a lot more work than vacation.
He has been hired by Sawnee Mountain Preserve as a naturalist and plans to delve into his technological side working part time at a computer store.
Still, it won’t be all work. Fahey said he likely will venture to Costa Rica at some point. “We’ll take vacations here and there.”
As he commended the educators on their dedicated service, School Superintendent Buster Evans also reflected on his own retirement next month.
“All of us have given so many years,” Evans said. “This has truly — for me, and I know for you — been a wonderful school system through which we are able to retire.”