Compassionate. Dedicated. Inspirational. These were just a few of the descriptions of Beth Mims given at the event held for her retirement on April 1, 2016 after her 34 years as an educator in the Wakulla County School District.
Colleagues, friends and family gathered to highlight Mims’ career as an outstanding teacher and administrator. Retired Superintendents William Payne and David Miller, retired Assistant Superintendent and Principal Jimmie Dugger, plus retired Principal Randy Anderson all spoke about how fortunate they were to have hired her at different points in her career.
Administrative Secretary LouAnn Crum, along with staff from Instructional Services, prepared the retirement party with creative decorations and food that reflected Mims’ love of children and of books in a “Winnie the Pooh” theme. Of the nine years she worked with Mims, Crum said, “I learned so much from her. She showed patience, kindness, and guidance to me and to everyone she came in contact with.”
Noted Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “Whenever I asked Beth Mims about an issue I needed insight into, I knew she would give me an honest assessment, not just what I wanted to hear. I valued her intelligent, ethical approach to everything she has been involved with.”
Mims began her career in Wakulla County in 1976 at Crawfordville Elementary School under Principal Randy Anderson. She taught first grade for seven years, interspersed with years she stayed home to raise her and husband Eddie Mims’ two daughters Leslie and Jenna.
In 1989, she returned to Crawfordville Elementary teaching fourth and fifth graders in the Alternative Education program for three years. She then taught pre-first graders for three years with Jimmie Dugger as principal.
In 1996, she spent her last year in the classroom at the new Medart Elementary School during their inaugural mid-year move from Sopchoppy under Principal Randy Anderson. He spoke of her as a gifted elementary teacher and noted, “I hired her four different times, so you know she was always high up in my estimation. I was blessed to work with such a caring and effective individual.”
Judy Myhre, retired Director of Instruction, also took note of Mims’ abilities and hired her in 1997 as the Curriculum Resource Teacher for the school district. Mims issued in Florida’s first state benchmarks, the Sunshine State Standards, helping both educators and students make practical implementation of the requirements.
In 2003, now retired Superintendent David Miller hired her as the pre-kindergarten principal for Wakulla Education Center and Sopchoppy Education Center, plus she continued working on the Sunshine State Standards as Miller also named her District Curriculum Coordinator.
As Mims took on more and more of the aspects of curriculum, including instructional materials and professional development, she was promoted to Director of Curriculum, then Executive Director of Curriculum, and retired as Superintendent Pearce’s Chief Academic Officer, overseeing all aspects of instruction from pre-kindergarten through adult education.
She is succeeded by Director of Instruction Sunny Chancy, formerly Wakulla High School Assistant Principal of Curriculum, WHS Science Department Chairman, and WHS and Tallahassee Community College science teacher.
Along the way, Mims garnered awards such as the 1994 Crawfordville Teacher of the Year and then the 1994 Wakulla County Teacher of the Year. In both 2006 and 2013 she was voted by her peers as District Administrator of the Year.
Even with all her work responsibilities, several speakers noted that Mims always put her faith and her family first. The celebration was attended by Mims’ husband Eddie; daughter Leslie, son-in-law Blake Moon and their daughter Piper; daughter Jenna, son-in-law Andy Bowman and their daughter Bethany; and a host of family, friends, and educators.
Mims thanked all who attended and said, “My career has been an absolute joy. I’ve truly loved the people and the children I’ve worked with over the years.”
Tanya English, Executive Director of Exceptional Student Education and Student Services, summed up Mims’ impact by reading the poem “Success” attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.