Last updated: April 26. 2014 3:47PM - 1630 Views

Katy Pruitt
Katy Pruitt
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Washington Irving Elementary School faculty and staff invite the public to a reception honoring Katy Pruitt, who is retiring as principal of the school.

The reception will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m.,Thursday, May 1 in the Washington Irving Elementary School Auditorium.

Pruitt’s association with Washington Irving Elementary School began as a 5-year old enrolled as a first-grade student. After a term in Okinawa, Japan, her father, Hendley Carter, returned to his hometown with his wife, Toshiko and daughters, Betty and Katy. Both girls continued their education through the 12th grade, graduating from the Durant Public Schools.

Pruitt started her career as a special education teacher and liaison for the Durant Public School District and the Bryan County Schools of Colbert, Achille, Calera, Caddo, Utica, and Blue. Upon leaving this position, Superintendent Dave Dailey hired her as a fourth-grade teacher in the Bokchito Public Schools, where she served as a teaching principal in her last year of her four-year tenure.

In 1982, Durant Superintendent David Williams hired Pruitt as the first Gifted and Talented Coordinator (K-12) for the Durant District. While in this position she reinstated the spelling bee where several students were named district champions and runner ups. Clint Taylor (in his 6th, 7th, and 8th grade year) won district and state and participated three times in the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. Continuing sponsors for the Spelling Bees at Washington Irving are Cindy Newell, Patty Dixon, Inell Gander, Arlene McKim, Helen Lowrance, Tamela Wingfield, Jeanie Hazell, Tamara Fryer, and Angela Fernandez. Mrs. Pruitt initiated the Durant Science Fair where she and teacher sponsors, Cindy Newell, Patty Dixon, Lynn Dills, Arlene McKim, Carla Taylor, Jacque Dunegan, and Connie Gentry have carried the tradition for 32 years. Olympics of the Mind was implemented at the local level in Durant. During this time, her elementary and secondary students qualified for State several years. Many parents and students were involved and a camaraderie with families continues today.

Pruitt also had middle school students qualify for district, state, and national levels for National History Day and took them to compete in Washington D. C.

In 1988, Dr.George Anderson named Pruitt principal of Washington Irving Elementary School where she has served 26 years in this position. She is retiring from education with 37 years. While at Washington Irving as a principal, she had the privilege of working with music teacher, Barbara Gary, who composed the “Washington Irving School Song,” which was adopted by the staff and students as the official school song.

You can hear the beautiful music and lyrics every morning at W. I. In 1998, Pruitt, Linda Condor, school counselor, and the Washington Irving faculty and staff were honored with the Title I Distinguished School Award. A large banner hangs in the hallway today exemplifying excellence in teaching and learning. Pruitt’s public school association began at Washington Irving and made a full circle ending at Washington Irving.

“Thank you for the opportunity to work with so many wonderful students, families, professional teachers, staff, and administrators,” Pruitt said. “I have worked with 18 Superintendents … all with the priority of making decisions based on ‘what is best for students.’”

Retiring from public schools will not be the end of Pruitt’s career as a mentor to children. She will begin a new position as Choctaw Nation’s Director of Head Start in June. Even though Washington Irving is a part of her heart and soul, she is looking forward to new adventures while enjoying her memories of the Durant Public School District and Bryan County Schools. When not working, Katy and her husband, Mike Pruitt, will enjoy time with their family, Jason and Rayna, Randy, and Chance, as well as three grandchildren, Abigail, Cooper, and Camden.

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