Middle School Division Leader Betty George
Retires After 25 Years
Betty George has been actively involved in curriculum development for the Middle School and Corbett Prep as a whole.
June 8, 2015 (TAMPA, Fla.) – A dedicated and thoughtful leader, Betty George has been an essential part of Corbett Preparatory School of IDS for 25 years — more than half of the school’s history.
Her guidance and her expansive knowledge of curriculum at all levels has proved invaluable for the Middle School. But it’s her warmth and compassion that her colleagues will miss the most as she enters retirement.
“Betty George is an amazing friend and a wonderful leader,” says science teacher Gery Morey. “She has a heart as big as Texas and is always there for everyone in the middle school. She is supportive of both teachers and students and is always willing to go the extra mile.”
Betty came to Corbett Prep, then Independent Day School, when her son Jeffrey was in kindergarten because she thought he would be challenged and actively engaged. A former middle school teacher, she substituted in that division until a permanent teaching position opened in the intermediate-level grades. She taught third and fourth grade and loved planning creative lessons, integrating her interests in music and quilting into multidisciplinary units.
But Middle School students held a special place in her heart. She began to work with some of the students and offered to set up an advisory program there to help students better relate to each other. Once it was underway, she became an advisor to one group although she still taught fourth grade.
Betty’s interest in Middle School coincided with opportunity in 1995 when she was named Middle School Director of Studies and Division Leader. Betty began teaching Middle School science with Gery Morey. She loved the age group and seeing how the students transformed from young kids into independent teens before her eyes.
“There’s something magical about Middle School,” Betty says. “The students are young and excited and sometimes overwhelmed. By the time they’re in eighth grade, they are confident and ready to go out in the world.”
Betty’s time with the Middle School was one of growth, excitement and change. Enrollment was climbing, and the oldest students needed more space. In 2001, Betty oversaw the Middle School’s move into a two-story building across Orange Grove Drive for grades 6 through 8, built with input from students. The expansion allowed for three classes per grade level — large enough to offer challenging academics, diverse clubs and electives and a competitive athletics program but still small enough to retain its strong sense of community.
Betty played an important part in curriculum development for the Middle School and IDS/Corbett Prep as a whole. As one of two directors of studies for the school, she facilitated the implementation of the M.O.R.E. (Multiple Options for Results in Education) Model and was instrumental in curriculum mapping to make sure expectations of each grade level were clear. She has been instrumental in teacher training initiatives and also was on the team that researched and ultimately brought the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme to Corbett Prep.
Even though she had plenty on her to-do list in administration, she always made sure she stayed involved in the classrooms, walking students to Lake Lipsey to collect water quality data and planning adventurous, educational “New Horizons” trips that encourage new learning opportunities and teamwork.
“It’s always been all about the kids for her,” says English teacher Jennifer Jagdmann. “She strives so hard to make a personal connection with all of her students.”
Her involvement in the classroom gave her a nice balance as a teacher and administrator. Betty says it helped her to know all the students and gain insight into what was going on in their lives. Teaching in the classroom allowed her to fully relate to her teachers as she experienced what the teachers experience.
Associate Headmaster Pam Ripple calls her “a teacher of teachers,” and math teacher Telma Largent appreciates her guidance and willingness to provide support anytime she needs it. Social Studies teacher Stephen Shoe says Betty is both professional and caring.
Betty’s creativity also will leave a lasting impression on Corbett Prep, her coworkers and friends say.
“From quilting to singing and playing the guitar, Betty is always at the ready to share her beautiful talents,” Gery Morey says. “Thanks to Betty, there is always birthday music at the Monday Morning Meetings, and anyone who has had a baby here at Corbett Prep is now the proud owner of one of Betty’s original, handmade quilts.”
Her thoughtfulness is touching, Stephen Shoe says. “She does it out of love and her heart.”