Retiring deputy headteacher says goodbye after 28 years at same Derbyshire school
A long serving deputy headteacher is bidding farewell after 28 years at the same Derbyshire school.
Claire Smith will have served Anthony Bek Primary School for 28 years when she walks out the gates for the last time on Thursday, July 22.
She began her teaching career in 1986 before joining the Pleasley-based primary school seven years later, and has seen thousands of children come and go in the time – many of whom are now parents themselves.
Anthony Bek headteacher Donna-Marie Johnson described Mrs Smith as the ‘most caring, creative, fun, inspiring person you’d wish to know’ and said she will be sorely missed.
She said: “She’s contributed so much to this community. She’s taught the parents of children here and even the grandparents now – just!
"Every child can think back to something that she’s done to inspire them. We’ve got a person that’s a published poet now and he said she was the one that inspired him.
"She’s brought in lots of things to do with enrichment and done lots of charity fundraising. She’s just the life and soul of the community.
"She’s never wanted to step away from the classroom. She loves the leadership but children are at the heart of everything she does and she’s never wanted to lose that.
"I started as the headteacher 10 years ago and she’s been the most unbelievable support, friend, especially through Covid which has been extremely difficult. She’s been there every step of the way and I couldn’t have done it without her. She’s a friend of life.”
Mrs Smith, 56, was joined by both present Anthony Bek staff and those she has previously worked with for a farewell celebration on Monday.
Throughout her final week, she also visited each individual class where she was given an array of challenges – including a quiz on how well she knows the school – and presented with gifts and cards from the pupils.
As well as this, the school re-wrote the lyrics to ‘My Favorite Things’ from the Sound of Music and ‘I Know Him So Well’ from Chess to perform before Mrs Smith.
Headteacher Mrs Johnson added: “She will leave a gaping hole. I don't know what we’ll do without her.”