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No retirement coming soon for Howard: WSNMS secretary loves her job

If there is anyone who knows her way around W.S. Neal Middle School, it would have to be Joy Howard.
The school’s receptionish/attendance clerk, Howard began as a teacher’s aide 24 years ago. Things are not done the same way as they once were, but Howard has adapted with the changes, she said.
“Computers have taken over since I began to work here,” she said. “That’s a good thing because it has made my life easier. I don’t have nearly as much paper work as I once did.
“That’s true for the students, too,” she said. “Many of them don’t even carry books anymore. Every student here gets an opportunity to use the computers here at the school. Things are constantly changing here as they are everywhere else.”
Howard is usually found in the office of W.S. Neal Middle School where she does her work each day.
“I will be old enough to retire soon, but I won’t unless they make me,” she said. “I love my job and I love working with the children. I have seen a lot of them come and go throughout the 24 years I have been working at the school.”
Howard described herself as a pretty good “go-fer,” and said she works on any number of projects at one time. Not only does she answer all the phone calls that come in, but she is also the person of contact for parents or children that have a problem.
“She is the best at getting things done,” said Dennis Hadaway, the school principal. “We work on projects together and she is the best.”
Howard was born in Atmore, the oldest of nine children. and spent much of her childhood in Mobile, where her father worked.
The family moved back to Escambia County and she attended T.R. Miller High, graduating in 1968.
“I have never regretted coming to work here,” she said. “I have loved every bit of it, and I don‘t plan on retiring until they kick me out. I love my job and spending time with my grandchildren, Mitchell and Carlie. I also love all the students who have passed through the school system, and that is a lot of kids.”