Local News

June 15, 2014

‘Amazing teacher’ honored

CHATSWORTH — Just because Tim Howard is retiring as a teacher after more than 30 years in the Murray County School System doesn’t mean he’ll stop teaching.

Peggy Davis, who has known Howard his entire life, is sure of that.

“I know he’ll never quit teaching,” Davis said Sunday, which was declared Tim Howard Day in the county by Sole Commissioner Brittany Pittman. “Life is really just beginning for him now. Now he gets to enjoy it. Very few people have the knowledge that he has or could accomplish what he has.”

Howard, an eighth-grade history teacher at Bagley Middle School and the county historian, was honored Sunday with a reception at the Murray County senior center and Pittman’s proclamation of Tim Howard Day. His list of accomplishments is long and includes numerous honors for both his involvement in preserving history and for teaching.

“He was an amazing teacher,” said former student Brandy Davis Phillips, who had Howard as a teacher in the late 1990s. “He has knowledge of everything, not just Georgia history (which he taught) but he knows everything about everything.”

In Howard’s class, he had students choose a project, either a family tree or a report related to family. Phillips chose a report on family members who fought in the Civil War. She compiled letters and notes and other items from her family.

“He even used it to teach from,” Phillips said. “Other teachers did too. It was pretty awesome. I still have it.”

Davis said she hates Howard is retiring before all of her family makes it through eighth grade. She still has grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the school system.

“He’s always fair to everybody,” she said.

Robin Baggett, who has taught at Bagley with Howard for many years, says it will be strange to return to school this fall without him there.

“It’s going to be tough in the fall without him,” she said. “He’s been a mainstay at Bagley.”

Howard was one of the first teachers at the school when it opened 25 years ago. In that time, he has been instrumental in the school’s Junior Beta Club, Georgia Quiz Bowl Team and the annual eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C.

“I’ll be taking on the role of Beta Club sponsor,” Baggett said. “We’ll never be able to fill his shoes, but we’ll carry on the best we can.

“Every day has been a learning experience with Mr. Howard,” she said. “He has a wealth of knowledge.”

Baggett said Howard has been a mentor to her, not just with teaching but also other areas of life.

Howard says he will continue his involvement in the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society, the Chief Vann House, the annual Murray on My Mind history class, the Spring Place Ruritan Club and his church. And after many years of helping other people write books on their family history, he plans to write his own.

“He’s only retiring from teaching — not anything else,” Andrew Bowen reassured people attending the reception. Bowen is one of Howard’s former teachers and is now pastor of Howard’s church, Smyrna Baptist.

Howard encouraged Bowen to attend his alma mater, Berry College.

“He was more than a teacher,” Bowen said. “He cared for me as an individual.”

Howard said he appreciated everyone who had a part in honoring him Sunday.

“I’m blessed abundantly,” he said. “I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. You didn’t have to go to all this trouble. Thank you very much.”

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