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Long career comes to close

After 35 years working in education, Mary Long, director of elementary instruction, is retiring.

Friends Mary Long and Clara Toney take time to pose for a photograph during Long's retirement party.

A retirement ceremony was held for Long Thursday in the board room at Central Office.

“They always say it’s bittersweet, but it’s like my grandson said, ‘Why are you crying? You get to quit work,’” Long said.

She plans to stay involved in some aspects of her career. She said she’ll do consulting work with other school systems.

However, Long did say the transition would be a tough one.
“This is all I’ve ever done,” she said. “I’ve gotten up every morning and gone to school. I won’t do that anymore and it’s going to be hard, but I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family.”

Long said “the kids” are what motivated her to get up every morning and for those 35 years.

She taught for several years in West Virginia and then continued teaching for 32 years with Madison County/Madison City Schools.

Clara Toney, administrator of federal programs, testing and instruction, first worked with Long 19 years ago when Long hired her has an assistant principal at West Madison Elementary School.

“Working with her was awesome,” Toney said. “She’s like a sister. It doesn’t matter what happens between us or what’s going on, we know deep in our heart that we love each other. We are best friends.”

Toney said after Long took her under her wing as an assistant principal, she continued to mentor her and give opportunities to grow.

“Her heart is so big,” Toney said. “She has just touched so many people. She truly has and she will be greatly missed.”

Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler called Long an “icon” and said she was “compassionate” and “child-oriented” when it came to her work.  He said she will be sorely missed.

“Mary has a deep knowledge and understanding not only of curriculum, but she also has a deep knowledge and understanding of children and the city of Madison and what the expectations are in this city,” Fowler said. “She always exceeds those expectations.”

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