June 20, 2007 Edition

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Biggers retires after 24 years

Belinda Biggers hugs Ashley Dimitriou, a student at Walnut Ridge Middle School, during a reception held on May 23 in honor of Biggers' retirement.
Amber Adams
Staff Writer

Belinda Biggers is retiring this year after 34 years in education, 24 of which were spent at Walnut Ridge School.

In her time at Walnut Ridge, Biggers has taught U.S. history, geography, seventh and eighth grade math, geometry and has now been principal at the elementary and middle schools for nine years.

She began her teaching career in Tuckerman, where she taught fifth and sixth grades for four years. She then taught in Gerden for four years. After moving to Russellville, she took a year off from teaching to get her math certification, but did some substituting in kindergarten and then filled a temporary opening in third grade.

"I have been full circle," said Biggers. "This is where you make all the difference. If these teachers (in elementary) can create a love of learning, it makes all the difference."

She also said she believes good teachers are called to the profession, adding that Walnut Ridge has a lot of natural teachers.

Surrounded by last minute paperwork and stacks of books, Biggers said she is looking forward to retirement, but is sad to be leaving Walnut Ridge School.

"This school is the best in the state ~ bar none," said Biggers. "It has been good to me."

She added, "In education, I've had the best of all worlds. There is not a more rewarding profession. I have learned a whole lot more than I ever taught my kids."

Of her plans for retirement, Biggers said she is going to be a full-time grandma. She and her husband may do some traveling in the future, but for right now, she said, "I am going to do absolutely nothing. I am going to sit on the couch and watch "Good Morning America" and drink my coffee."

Biggers said retiring was the hardest decision she has ever made and if she is not satisfied, she'll be looking for a teaching job.

"If God gave me the choice to go back 38 years and said, 'Okay, you can do anything you want to do,' I'd do it all the same."

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