Beloved school deputy retires after 39 years
YOU might think 39 years in the teaching profession would be more than enough for most people, but Blair State School’s long-serving deputy principal Desley Jones was still a somewhat reluctant retiree on Friday.
Mrs Jones was given a guard of honour at the school she has served as both a teacher and deputy for the past 30 years, and there were no shortage of tears as she said her goodbyes.
Having started her career at Leichhardt State School, Mrs Jones has spent her entire career teaching Ipswich kids.
After starting at Blair as a classroom teacher, she took on an active deputy role from 2006-07 and then was appointed full-time in 2008.
She said she never grew tired of the job and said being around primary school kids had helped to keep her young.
“I think what I will miss most about this job is having to think on my feet,” she said.
“You make plans every day but in this job things rarely work out as expected.
“The interactions with kids is something I will also miss a lot.
“I taught the parents of some of the children who are here now, and that’s probably the only part of the job that has made me feel old.”
Mrs Jones said the Blair State School community was loyal and tight knit, with many people sticking around to help the school years after their children had been and gone.
One famous example of that is rugby league legend’s mum, Rita Langer, who still comes in every Friday after 50 years helping at Blair.
Mrs Jones said she enjoyed a big hug with Rita on Friday.
“That is what makes this school so special,” she said.
“There are so many like Rita who are still here. It is an amazing community.”
Retired life is shaping up to be one full of time spent with grandchildren and also travelling around the state in the caravan with husband of 39 years, Ian.
Mrs Jones thanked her husband for being so supportive during her teaching career.
Here are some of the tributes from fellow staff that were left for Mrs Jones on Friday
“Thank you for your continual support and guidance and in-depth, thought provoking conversations.”
“We will miss your smiling face and great sense of humour.”
“Thank you for your many years of dedicated service to the many communities you worked with along with our staff and students. We appreciate everything you have done. You have been amazing!”
“I will miss your guidance and unwavering belief in me – especially at times when I did not believe in myself. Thank you for your belief in ALL the children whose lives you have touched. You have changed our world at Blair in so many positive ways.”
“Your door has always been open for me when I needed to chat and you have always been so supportive.”
“If student success is a reflection of their teacher’s ability, then this personifies you.”
“I have worked with a lot of Deputy Principals in my time as a teacher but you are, by far, the best.”
“Thank you for your many years of leadership that was fair, supportive and kind.”