Stokes brings time in education to a close

Published 6:56 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2022

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For 32 years, elementary students at Brewton City Schools have been the beneficiaries of the dedication found in teach by Debbie Stokes.
Stokes, who will be leaving her post at Brewton Elementary School on June 30, says the time spent with students and fellow teachers through the years has never been taken for granted.
“I have never taken one day for granted,” Stoke said. “I am humbled by the love, support, and encouragement of parents, faculty, staff, and students throughout my 32 years of teaching.  Brewton City Schools supports and encourages its teachers to go back to school and pays  tuition. I can never thank the school system enough.”
Stokes began her career in ducation shortly after becoming the wife of David Stokes at 22. At the time, Stokes worked as an assistant to the academic dean at Jefferson Davis Community College, where she worked for a decade. During that time, the couple had their first child, David.
“ While there I went back to school to get a master’s degree in elementary education,” Stokes said. “It took me exactly 5 years to get that degree while working full time, with a toddler and pregnant with our second child, Elizabeth Anne. “
Their third child, Rob, would come into the world while Stokes served as a fifth-grade teacher at Flomaton Elementary School.
The encouragement from the Brewton City School Sytem to gain more knowledge, Stokes headed back to college to receive her master’s degree in Instructional Leadership.
“Upon completion, I joined W.S. Neal Elementary as Assistant Principal,” Stokes said. “However, it was for a short time, as God had other plans for me. I returned to BES to serve as Assistant Principal/Reading Specialist.  It is in that position that I will retire at the end of June.”
Stokes began her work as a teacher at Flomaton Elementary School with the Escambia County School System as a fifth-grade teacher.
“I’ll always be appreciative of the wonderful parental and administrative support there,” Stoke said of her time at FES. “I am grateful to the Escambia County School System for giving me that first opportunity.”
With the last several years of her career in education at Brewton Elementary School, Stokes has touched the lives of more than the students.
“Debbie Stokes has inspired creativity and enriched learning for hundreds of children over her career,” said Ginger Roberts, a teacher at BES. “I will always treasure her words of encouragement and acts of kindness that she has shown me throughout our 20-plus years of working together. I look forward to her continuing on as a volunteer.  Debbie will be a caring, influential mentor and asset to our students.”
BES Principal Barry Wood expressed his appreciation for Stokes’ service to education.
“I’m incredibly grateful to Debbie for her leadership and friendship during the three years I’ve been blessed to work with her,” Wood said. “Her passion for teaching students and mentoring young teachers is unparalleled and I wish her nothing but the best in her new adventures.”
Carolyn Barnes, math interventionist at BES, said that the opportunity to work with Stokes has been a “blessing.”
“I have been fortunate to work with Debbie Stokes in several different capacities; a colleague, a teacher and an administrator,” Barnes said. “She has had such an impact on my life in all three aspects. When I transferred from being a first grade teacher to a third grade teacher,she was encouraging and always so helpful to me . As my child’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Stokes kept her students engaged, enriched, inspired and most of all loved! It was one of my child’s most treasured years. As an administrator, Mrs. Stokes brought all of that to our faculty and students. We have all been blessed by her. Her love and compassion for BES will certainly be missed.”
Brewton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Varner said having Stokes on staff in the system was something to be appreciated.
“Debbie was a great addition to our staff,” Varner said.  “She would take on any task and certainly wasn’t afraid of hard work.  Her loyalty and positive attitude were greatly appreciated during her tenure.”
Stokes considered her work more of a pleasure in her life than actual work.
“I can truly say that I never went to work a day, but that every day was a day of celebration,” Stokes said. “After all, how can you work with children and your life not be enriched and fun?
“In my 32 years of education, I can say that I feel more secure in the future of our children and in the efficacy of our teachers. Our teachers are trained in Multisensory Education and in the Science of Reading and ongoing professional development. BES just earned through the devout work of students, teachers, administration, and staff the title of National Blue Ribbon School.”
Stokes is not only thankful for her career in education, but took the opportunity to show appreciation for other educators in the Brewton City School system.
“I owe so much to the teachers in the Brewton City School System who helped shape my three children,” Stokes said. “ David is a high school science teacher, Elizabeth Anne is an elementary teacher, and Rob is an officer in the Navy, and serves as a Naval Aviator. My husband, David, is retired so life is about to get interesting! We will go through uncharted territory together!”
Stokes said looking back on her career, there is one thing that stands out for her in the lives of her students.
“The one constant in my career that has made the biggest difference in children’s lives is love,” Stokes said. “Love breaks all barriers. Relationships must happen before instruction and learning can begin.  I leave with a grateful heart.  Thank you to everyone that I had the privilege to teach.  I love you all, and I know the world is better because of you.”

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