BEAUFORT — There was plenty of honks and hollers during a drive-thru parade Monday for Carteret County Schools Public Information Officer Tabbie Nance, who is retiring Monday, March 1.
Former and present school employees and officials, Beaufort first responders, sheriff’s deputies and even a few folks with dogs slowly wound their way through the county schools’ central office parking lot. Many vehicles sported colorful signs and balloons.
The East Carteret High School cheerleaders kicked off the event, leading vehicles through the parking lot, where a tent was set up for Ms. Nance to view all of the fun. Her parents, sister and several family members from Greensboro and Farmville also attended.
In addition, there was a short ceremony prior to the parade inside the central office, where school officials and staff honored Ms. Nance for her 29.5 years of service to the school system and students.
Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton read a proclamation in honor of the high-energy woman known for her organizational and compassionate leadership skills.
“Tabbie has been a key leader in the enormous success of our school system,” Mayor Newton read. “She demonstrated superior leadership during numerous crises to include the aftermath of hurricanes and the (coronavirus) pandemic. She has been on the front lines of identifying the significant needs of students, faculty, staff and their families.”
During the ceremony, many employees, school board members and staff presented Ms. Nance with gifts and well wishes.
County Board of Education Chairperson Clark Jenkins said, “Tabbie is a light that shines in our system and community. She offers comfort and guidance. She has been a guiding force for staff. We’ve been blessed to have her.”
Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson agreed.
“There’s no question she has absolutely lived out her dedication to the county and love for children,” Dr. Jackson said. “As we’re hearing from so many, she has made an incredible difference in so many lives.”
Ms. Nance, who plans to continue operating her horse stable, Trade-Win IV Farm, outside of Beaufort, said she was deeply touched by the show of support.
“I am overwhelmed,” she said. “I think the school system has been my life for 29.5 years. I love the people in it and who have been in it.”
Ms. Nance further said, “I am indeed fortunate to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. I will always treasure the relationships over the years.”
Among those who surprised her during the parade were three of the five former superintendents she worked for. They included Tom Davis, Dr. David Lenker and Dr. Dan Novey. In addition, a representative for the late Superintendent Brad Sneeden swung by to give her a gift on behalf of Mr. Sneeden’s widow, Carolyn.
County Sheriff Asa Buck also drove through, stepping out of his car long enough to give Ms. Nance a quick hug. In addition, former BOE member June Fulcher, who was on the board at the time Ms. Nance was hired, attended.
While Ms. Nance is retiring from her position, she will keep her hand in the school system. She was recently appointed to the board of the Carteret County Public School System Foundation, where she formerly served as secretary.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.