Faye Holland, pictured in 2008, is one of four veteran teachers who retired from Fort Jackson schools this month. Holland, Catherine James, Nancy Kerr and Wanda Beatty combined for more than 115 years with the Department of Defense Education Activities.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Four Fort Jackson teachers, who combined for more than 115 years of service with Department of Defense Education Activities, retired June 1. Faculty, staff and students acknowledged and celebrated the commitments of Catherine James, Faye Holland, Nancy Kerr and Wanda Beatty in a ceremony marking the end of the school year at Pierce Terrace Elementary School.

Although the four women may have different plans for retirement, they all said they will miss the children of Fort Jackson schools.

"One of my most memorable moments while teaching at Fort Jackson is a little girl (telling) me that she wished I was her teacher in every grade she had, because I made learning math more understandable and she enjoyed my teaching methods," James said.

James has been teaching at Fort Jackson for 28 years. She said she likes to hear children say, "I've got it," when it comes to learning.

"I want to them to feel successful, feel good in whatever they tried to do and loved," James said.

A native of Saint Lucia, James had previously worked at off-post public schools. She said military children have special needs, because their parents are deployed or work long hours. She said teachers can provide some of the attention some of these children may need.

Holland, Kerr and Beatty all worked at Pierce Terrace Elementary School.

"Ms. Kerr, Ms. Beatty and Ms. Holland combined have committed approximately 90 years to DoDEA students. That means that if their average class size was 18 students per year, they have touched over 1,500 students just in their classrooms alone," said Brian Perry, principal at Pierce Terrace Elementary School.

Holland, who started working at Fort Jackson in the late 1970's at the former Greg Circle School, experienced the life of a Soldier's spouse with children in Fort Jackson schools while working as a teacher.

She said in her 26 years of teaching military children she was able to become an advocate for these children, having seen some their lifestyles and diverse backgrounds.

"I feel my greatest impact on children's lives and children would come when they were not on the level they needed to be and I would help them in their area of special need and to get to their next grade level. Because of the special tutoring they received and I recommended, they made a great deal of improvement," Holland said.

Wanda Beatty, who taught at Pierce Terrace Elementary for 36 years, said she loves to teach and has always wanted to teach and has been her life.

Beatty said the children's uniqueness and previous duty assignments in different countries were similar to her background as a spouse of a Soldier, which was one of the reasons she enjoyed and continued teaching military children.

"Throughout the years I have had many students come back; and a student I had 30 years ago came back and told me that I touched her life. Every time a child comes back and tells me I touched his or her life is what I enjoy the most," Beatty said.

Although she has retired from Fort Jackson schools, Beatty said she still hopes to continue teaching children in the future.

Kerr, who has committed more than 25 years, said when she first started at Fort Jackson many people asked how she got a job here because those jobs were hard to get and teachers on post were, and are still, well thought of because of their academic success.

"I can honestly say that I loved all of my children, and they are important and they can do anything if they try and instill a sense of learning," Kerr said. "It has been such a pleasure working at Fort Jackson and it has been such a great environment to be in."

She said she thinks being able to serve military kids is an honor and that it is important to provide a learning environment for those children.

"It's an honor to serve those who serve," Kerr said.

"We are excited for these teachers in their retirement; however we will miss their leadership and experience," Perry said.

Page last updated Thu June 14th, 2012 at 10:36