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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Shelton retires after 31 years

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Retiring Mammoth Spring art teacher Bessie Shelton is shown with art student Colby Young whose art work "Serengeti Migration" was chosen to be a part of the Arkansas Arts Center's two year traveling exhibition.
MAMMOTH SPRING -- After 31 years of working as an educator, Bessie Shelton is retiring from teaching at Mammoth Spring School.

She received her education at Freed-Hardman University with an associate's of arts degree. She also attended Union University and Lambish College where she received her B.S. in elementary education, special education, and gifted and talented, and did her graduate work at the University of Mississippi.

Shelton has taught in three different states and four different school systems.

She started teaching third grade at Huntington, Tenn., where she taught two years. From there she taught first grade 1-1/2 years in Dyer County, Tenn. She was director of Kindercare, a preschool learning facility with more than 100 students in Tupelo, Miss., for one year and a special education teacher at Tupelo for 1-1/2 years and taught two years at Tupelo in the gifted and talented classroom for third graders.

Shelton taught 23 years in the Mammoth Spring School District; two years in the gifted and talented program, 18 years as a first grade teacher and the last three years she has taught elementary art and worked in the gifted and talented program at Mammoth Spring School.

There have been some highlights in her profession as a teacher. In 1973, she was named Tennessee Elementary Teacher of the Year. She has been featured on the Nashville, Tenn., television station for innovative teaching and in 1999 she received the Shannon Wright Golden Ruler Award.

"The teaching profession is a job with awesome responsibilities in which you are continually giving of yourself, but in the end I have found that I have received much more than I gave," Shelton said.

She said teaching children has been an honor for her. "It has been such an honor to have crossed the paths of so many young people and my life has been enriched immeasurably by each and every student. My goal throughout my teaching career has been to raise students' self esteem and instill in them a love of learning," she said.

Shelton says she has a number of things planned since she will not be teaching school.

"I am going to follow old Route 66 in my Mustang convertible, spend time in my greenhouse and complete the Master Gardner Program with my daughter," Shelton said.

She said she is now going to find time to research her genealogy and her ancestral link to the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.

"I plan on spending more time with my daughter Erica, a pharmacist in West Plains and my mother in Amory, Miss. My husband Richard and I are both pilots and we are looking forward to helping our son-in-law who is building a plane," she said.

She said she is looking forward to spending time at her family's cabin on Greers Ferry Lake and doing some volunteer work at the new visitor center at the Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery.

Mammoth Spring Superintendent Ron Taylor had nothing but good things to say about Shelton.

"Mrs. Shelton was a wonderful first grade teacher at Mammoth Spring Elementary School for many years. She took the elementary art program and made it one of the best art programs in the state for a school our size. She taught the gifted and talented program that is evaluated by the state and always received an excellent evaluation. She did a good job with our school district for 23 years in any capacity she worked," he said.

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