This week’s feature is on the special education teachers at McCleary. These ladies have a huge heart of gold and strive daily to help struggling students succeed. Miss Langley Looney, Miss Marie Summers and Mrs. April Rickey put in many hours during the school day – as well as after the last bell rings – to help their students.
Ms. Summers works with second and third-grade students. She previously taught special education students in the fourth and fifth grade. Miss Looney previously taught in the high school (grades 9-12) and moved to McCleary this year to work with fourth and fifth-grade students. Mrs. Rickey is currently focusing on kindergarten and first-grade students, but has previously taught grades K -6 in Lynchburg, Roanoke and the surrounding counties.
Ms. Summers stated that she decided on education at an early age. “It has been something I have wanted to do since I was a child. I was constantly making my younger brothers be my students so that I could play teacher,” she said.
Mrs. Rickey commented that “I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children who were struggling in school. I wanted to help them experience success.”
Added Miss Looney: “I’ve always loved to teach. School was my favorite game growing up.”
Both of Miss Looney’s parents work in the special education field. She has a beautiful niece and an amazing nephew that she is very proud of. Besides teaching, she enjoys photography, hunting and fishing. Mrs. Rickey has taught special education for the past 31 years. She has a daughter that recently joined the Coast Guard. She is originally from Lynchburg, but ended up in Roanoke after meeting Mr. Rickey (previous guidance counselor at McCleary). Miss Summers is originally from Wyoming. She currently resides in Salem. During her downtime, she is working towards her Masters, does homebound instruction and is a security guard at Catawba Hospital
All three agree that teaching in a small community like Craig is very nice. The class sizes are small, and the co-workers are like family. Miss Looney said, “This is home. It’s my roots, and it’s the place where I want to make a difference.”
Miss Summers has been in the Army reserves for 12 years and is aiming to make it to 30 years. Mrs. Rickey enjoys being outside and hiking, gardening and bird watching. She also enjoys reading in addition to watching and listening to live music. Dancing with Mr. Rickey is a highlight as well.
-Submitted by Andrea Jennings