Many schools are lucky to have an administrator who is willing to go above and beyond for her students, but the Charlton County school system was blessed to have one who also did the same for her teachers. Dr. Barbara Hannaford was most known for simply wanting the best for everyone she came in contact with and is remembered as being a very important variable within the school system.
“Dr. Hannaford was the kind of administrator we could go to with any problem. If we were having personal issues, she would hold our hands and talk us through them. If it was a work issue, she would lend an ear and try to address our problem fairly,” said colleague Dr. Natalie Newvine.
Dr. Hannaford received her BA Degree from Indiana State University and her Masters and Doctorate Degree from Valdosta State University. Hannaford began her teaching career in Indiana and continued on when she moved to Folkston with her husband Michael. She began her career in the Charlton County School System in August of 1993 as an English Teacher at Charlton County High School. In addition to her teaching duties, she was involved in the Drama and Literary Programs. She was also an integral part of the time that helped transition the school to Block Scheduling. She became an Assistant Principal at CCHS in 2005 and transitioned to Bethune Middle School when it was built in the 2010-2011 school year. She remained in that position until 2013 when she was promoted to Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
“She led the school systems effort in improving these areas and helped secure a grant totaling over a million dollars to support reading instruction. She retired from our system in March, 2019,” said Superintendent Dr. John Lairsey.
During her time in the school system, she never failed to help guide any teacher who needed it. Nicki Johnson was hired as a math teacher the same year Dr. Hannaford became assistant principal.
“She was a dear friend. She was the type of person who would stand up for teachers and believed all students could learn with the right conditions,” Johnson shared.
Dr. Hannaford also worked with Lisa Johns as an ELA teacher during her time serving as assistant principal.
“Those years are the ones I will treasure because she made me a better teacher,” said Johns, “She was one who could give you advice on running a classroom and then come into your classes to see if you applied her teachings to the fullest extent for success. No matter how many times she visited my room, she would always leave a note to respond to the good points and the bad points of the lessons I was teaching. I took those words of advice and tried to perfect them.”
She wasn’t only there for her teachers, she made sure students not only stayed in line, but enjoyed their time at school.
“She was amazingly level-headed and she stayed calm even amongst the craziness of middle schoolers,” remembered Dr. Newvine, “When it came to homecoming week, Dr. Hannaford was always on board and ready to go all out.”
Following the passing of her husband in 2018, Dr. Hannaford made the decision to retire the following year. In 2019, she moved back to Indiana to be close to her daughters and grandchildren. Even in the midst of her retirement, she could not stay away from the classroom and volunteered in local elementary schools and taught online college courses for Valdosta State University.
“Barb was always willing to help those in need, whether it was spending her own hard-earned money or just giving you a much-needed talk to boost your spirits,” said Johns.
Hannaford always gave everyone her all. She was not afraid of any situation and took the bull by the horns. Dr. Hannaford helped many students achieve goals they did not think were possible and believed with the right resources, a child could learn anything.
Johns said, “She was the one who kept us teachers in line and on task with believing in our students’ education and that their needs came first. Heaven gained an angel when Barb arrived.”