Johnston County Public Schools named three former educators — Hazel Sanders, Phyllis Parrish and Joyce Wade — as the 2018 Living Legend Award recipients.
The Living Legend Award is presented to former Johnston County Public Schools educators who were dedicated to the children they taught and left a legacy of influential teaching styles.
Their combined careers spanned more than 30 years serving in Johnston County Public Schools.
Hazel Sanders taught in Johnston County for 32 years. Following her retirement, she continued her service in her community and at Galilee Baptist Church.
Ms. Sanders is an active member of the Fayetteville State Alumni. She also currently serves as recording secretary of the Johnston County Retired Teachers and as a member of NEA (National Education Association) and NCAE (North Carolina Association of Educators) professional organizations.
When asked what advice she would give to current teachers, Ms. Sanders said, “Accept and love the little children given to you as though each one of them is your own child. Teach them, by your example, to love themselves as well as to love those who may be different in appearance, attitude, and academic ability.”
Phyllis Ellis Parrish taught French at Smithfield-Selma High from 1972 until 1998. She was selected as Teacher of the Year at the school in 1975, 1982, and 1989. Although she has been retired for 20 years, Parrish still serves in many capacities including mentoring new foreign language teachers.
Ms. Parrish is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society and Centenary United Methodist Church. She also serves on the Johnston Community College Education Foundation Board and is a coordinator of the Community Connections Program.
Ms. Parrish’s message to teachers is, “Teaching is the most noble profession. It made me a lifelong learner. It allowed me to meet students who were smarter than I was. They made me work harder and want to know more. It created in me a desire to be the best teacher. For the pure love of teaching, I wanted to expose students to everything I could think of. That’s what good teachers do.”
Joyce Wade served Johnston County Public Schools for 38 years in several roles including a teacher, assistant principal, and senior associate and associate superintendent for Human Resources.
Ms. Wade, who retired in 2009, was an active member of NCAE, PANC (Personnel Administrators of North Carolina), SEANC (State Employees Association of North Carolina), and NCRGEA (North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees Association. She is a member of First Baptist Church of Dunn. Some of her honors include include Benson’s Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator, Benson Area Women’s Association Outstanding Young Woman, Johnston County’s Administrator of the Year, and North Carolina’s The Order of the Long Leaf Pine 2009.
“The highlight of my career is the joy of seeing former students doing well as adults and the joy of seeing my former co-workers leading the Johnston County school system,” said Ms. Wade.