Petty, State Teacher of the Year alumnae, retires from Columbia

Margaret Petty, who is a National Board Certified Teacher, is retiring from Columbia Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Margaret Petty, who is a National Board Certified Teacher, is retiring from Columbia Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – With 36 years in the field of education, Margaret Petty has retired from Columbia Elementary School as a resource and inclusion teacher.

In 2005, Petty was named Alabama State Teacher of the Year. “I spent the year working with other teachers to begin inclusion classes and co-teaching in schools across the state,” she said. “I have never worked so hard, but it was a wonderful experience working with such dedicated and talented teachers.”

During her career, Petty has taught at Neil Armstrong Junior High in San Antonio, Texas; Martin Elementary School in Beaumont, Texas; St. Isidore’s Elementary School in Baker, La.; Odyssey Harbor in Keene, Texas and at Liberty middle and Rainbow and Columbia elementary schools.

“I have taught 20 years in Madison City Schools and 16 elsewhere,” she said.

For her replacement, Petty suggests “to love your students by setting high yet attainable expectations. Never allow your students to settle for anything less than their very best.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in learning disabilities at Alabama A&M University. Petty is a National Board Certified Teacher.

“I will always remember a teacher who taught math when I was in the third grade,” Petty said. “She was adamant about learning our multiplication tables. She made this laborious task competitive and challenging. She died of cancer a few years later. I admired her drive and determination to set high standards for her students.”

Her husband Doug is retired from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Their children are Dr. Tasha Levert, family counselor and stay-at-home mom in Columbus, Ohio; Nicole Arnold, Walmart manager in Walker, La.; and Jessica Petty and Ali King, managers, The Stem and Stein in Madison.

The Pettys have two grandsons and four granddaughters. Now away from school, Margaret Petty plans to enter mission work, learn to quilt, fish and golf, play in her garden and read as much as possible.

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