Retirement for the former New Diana superintendent will take her out of the classroom, but not out of activities with young people.
Ever since she graduated from North Texas State University in December, 1967, this Gladewater native (Weldon Bumblebee, 1963) has been involved with education at one level or another for 45 years.
After teaching in this country and overseas, working in the classroom, counseling, and administration, Joyce Sloan called it quits this spring with her retirement.
After working in Forney with high school dropouts in her first job, she began working with the Dallas County Community College system at the El Centro and Mountain View campuses.
This was in the era of the War on Poverty, and she got to whet her educational teeth by helping young adults succeed when previously they had known failure.
From there, Mrs. Sloan went to work with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, an offshoot of the United Methodist Church.
First, she relocated to Chicago, where the group was headquartered, despite her parents’ reservations. Little did she know how far that move would take her.
From 1970 to 1982, she worked in day schools, pre-school education, and literacy programs. After working in the Chicago area, she would get a passport and head to places she never imagined as a child in Gladewater.
One community was near Cairo, Egypt, in the shadow of the pyramids, so to speak, and the other was in Nairobi, Kenya. By now adult training was also part of her resume.
In 1982, news of her mother’s illness reached her, and she returned to Texas.
There was no vacancy in the Gladewater ISD at the time, so Gladewater’s loss became Gilmer’s gain.
Under superintendent Jack Cockrill, Mrs. Sloan became Gilmer’s first speech therapist for the whole district. For the next 11 years, she worked with Pat Camp as her principal at the Gilmer Elementary School campus.
When the new Gilmer Intermediate School opened, she joined Sandra Young as the counselor at that campus. She was a counselor from 1993 to 98.
From 1998 to 2003 Mrs. Sloan worked with children with special needs who were at risk of dropping out. That included children with dyslexia and other learning variances, which create added barriers to learning.
A few years after Camp’s retirement, in 2003, Mrs. Sloan returned to the Gilmer Elementary campus as the last principal at the old campus. By then, she had worked with Dr. Bob Smith and Larry Bennett as her superintendents, and was working with her fourth, Rick Albritton.
Mrs. Sloan worked through the transition from the old to the new elementary school campus from 2003 to 2006 ,before transferring to administration, where she had the post of curriculum director.
Shortly after the transfer, she changed jobs and went to work for a former colleague in Gilmer, Pat Clark.
Clark had followed Dan Noll as the superintendent at New Diana Schools, and was working on a master plan for their 120-acre plot west of the community to develop new facilities.
By the time Clark retired in 2008, the new Robert Hunt Elementary School was open with projected plans for future additions to the building on the drawing board.
Mrs. Sloan was named the interim superintendent in Dec. 2008, and got the full-time job as superintendent in April 2009.
Today, Joyce Sloan is happily playing the role of grandmother as her grandchildren stayed after the reception for a visit.
In the future is a weekend at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine, a gift from her children for her and her husband.
After that, the path is uncertain, but it is certain that children and service will be part of the plan, whatever it may be.