Long wraps up 34-year education career
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The teacher who dressed as a witch, pumpkin and Christmas tree to have fun with her students is ending her education career after 34 years.
Bobbie Long, who has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and director of education in the central office, is planning her retirement, effective April 31. However, Superintendent of Hartselle Schools Dr. Mike Reed said he still hasn't given up on talking her into staying.
"She's such a big part of our education system, I don't want to see her go," Reed stated. "If she does leave, it's going to be very hard to replace her."
Teacher Debbie Smith paid the retiree another compliment at a recent school board meeting after she and fellow teacher Sabrina Buettner presented her with a gift of appreciation.
"I know Ms. Long as a principal. We don't have any idea how much she does for this school system. Anything big that has ever been done, she had a big part in it."
"It was hard for me to decide to retire," Long stated. "But I think this is a good time. The system is in good hands. There are a lot of good people here who can carry on."
Long said she and her husband Ron Streible, who is retired from the Decatur school system, are building a new house between Morgan City and Arab and have just begun finishing the interior.
"I'll be involved in that for awhile," she pointed out. "I also love to read. It's my hobby. Ron loves to fish. I'll read while he fishes.
"I've been blessed. I've had wonderful people with whom to work . . . administrators, teachers, parents and kids. I can't imagine doing anything else. God knew what he was doing when he led me into education."
Many of the students who went through F. E. Burleson and Crestline Elementary Schools during the 1970's, '80's and '90's will remember Long playfully interacting with them at Halloween while dressed in a black witch's outfit and waving a broomstick. Later, she added a pumpkin costume for Thanksgiving and a lighted tree outfit for Christmas.
"The first year I taught, my mom made the witch's costume," Long recalled. "While I was at Burleson I decided I needed something new and we came up with the pumpkin outfit. The Christmas tree costume made its debut at Crestline.
"The costumes helped me relate to the kids," Long pointed out. "They liked to see me in them and it enabled them to see me as being more approachable."
A native of Marshall County and a graduate of Guntersville High School, Long earned a B.S. degree in education at Jacksonville State University in 1972 and a masters degree in education in 1975. She later received the AA certificate in elementary education and supervision and curriculum development and the AA certificate in administration from the University of Alabama.
She began her career as a fourth grade teacher in Guntersville and was there for one year. Subsequently, she taught fifth grade in Guam for a year, moved back to Hartselle and taught fourth grade at F.E. Burleson for two years and taught first, second, fifth and sixth grades at Walker Elementary in Tuscaloosa for the next three years.
She then returned to Burleson where she taught third grade for six years. She served as assistant principal at Crestline Elementary for seven years and Principal for three years before assuming the position of director of instruction at the central office. In that position, her duties included federal programs, teacher evaluations, professional development, curriculum, student testing, textbooks and K-1 registration.
Long said the Hartselle school system has made big strides in looking at how children learn during her career, especially in math and science. She pointed out that the implementation of the Alabama Reading Initiative this year is another step forward.
She predicted Hartselle schools will continue to rank among the state's top 10 as long as it has dedicated teachers who are willing to go the extra mile, students who aspire to excel and strong support from parents and community.