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I: C 10 TUESDAY, JULY 29 - THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2014 Saltwater Portrait )) With school board behind her, more time for teaching and family By Melissa Steele melissasteele@capegazette.com ara Wilkinson's educational high- lights line the wails of her Milton home. Her husband, Ray, has made sure of it. The couple have shared that home for about as long as they've been married - since 1962. A lot has changed around the modest ranch home that once sat alone among cornfields. "Everything else has grown up around us," Wilkinson said. But one thing has stayed the same: Wilkinson's passion for education. Wilkinson was born in 1943 and has lived her life in the Milton area. Her mother, Thelma Dill, worked as a paraprofessional when H.O. Brittingham Elementary opened; father Graham Jr. was captain of T-boats that operated out of Fort Miles - now part of Cape Henlo- pen State Park. Her late brother, Graham III, was an educator in the Indian River School District. All 12 years of her primary and sec- ondary education were spent at Milton Consolidated School, the building that now houses Milton Elementary. She graduated in 1961 with a diamond engagement ring on her finger - courte- sy of Ray - and admission into the initial University of Delaware parallel program offered in Georgetown. The program lasted two years, and she earned a bach- elor's degree in education from Dela- ware State College in 1971. Her first teaching job followed at Rehoboth Elementary, where she taught fourth grade. At the time, her older child, Terry, was in grade school and her son, Jeffrey, was in kindergarten. Wilkinson spent the next nine years at Rehoboth, teaching many who today are part of the area's business community. "When I ran for school board the first time, everyone that was putting together or involved in the election were ones I either taught or taught their spouses," she said. Her success on the school board as a balanced voice of reason with a keen sense of humor were the same traits her staff and students loved about her. She left Rehoboth in 1981 for H.O. Brit- tingham Elementary where she became assistant principal in 1997, putting to use a master's degree from Salisbury State College and administrative courses from University of Delaware. Wilkinson said she enjoyed working with elementary- age students because they are indepen- dent, but still impressionable. However, a year after earning the assistant principal position at HOB, she decided to try something new as assis- tant principal of Milton Middle School. By 2000, she was principal. "I always like to move forward and have the next challenge," she said. "You can't get stagnant; you have to keep moving forward." After retiring in 2002, her next chal- lenge was a doctoral degree from Wilm- ington University where she earned the President's Award for her thesis on a systemic approach to professional devel- opment in 2003. "I've been a part of every college in Delaware," she said. Her studies in administrative leader- ship took her to the Caribbean, where she worked with teachers on the island of Tobago. It was an experience, she said, she will never forget. "They were so receptive to learn- ing and appreciated all the books we brought them," Wilkinson said. In the short time there, they developed a bond of admiration and respect unparalleled throughout her years in education, she said. When she left, she said the Tobago teachers were genuinely sad to see her go. Cape Gazette MELISSA STEELE PHOTO A ROCKING CHAIR ANDPLAQUE are compliments of the Cape Henlopen School District. '!It was a really heartwarming experi- said she has 76 students taking a time ence," she said. management for school administrators course through the University of the Cumberlands. School board and more "I love it," she said. "They've never With a wealth of name recognition had that many students enroll." and a winning personality, Wilkinson In between online instruction, Wilkin- ran for school board with the same son said, she now has plenty of time to professionalism and energy that earned spend with her retired husband, Ray, her success in education. She won the who retired in 1993 from his job as an at-large seat in 2009, giving her the op- electrician at General Foods and for portunity to see how things are done on years has kept their home spotless. She the decision-making side. also has more time to work out with a "The board was challenging, but personal trainer, who helps keep her I'm glad I did it because you get to see healthy and in shape. She also has more another perspective of the education opportunities to visit With her children process," she said. Wilkinson always and grown grandchildren Brittany and provided a reasoned and researched Beau Croll - both environmental scien- view on board topics, and from time to fists who live in Washington, D.C. time, she filled in with a quick wit for Through it all, Wilkinson gives thanks levity, iust to keep things light. Although to Ray for giving her the chance to pur- she chose not to run for re-election, she sue her dreams. is keeping her hand in the education "I had a supportive husband," she field, this time teaching an online course said. "I wouldn't have been able to do it for a Kentucky college. Wilkinson without him." F al D A 3, W 8; D ol pl al b,. H tc 6: IT W C( D B rr pl y, nq D C p, W aq sl 6; aq r~ S IT W C( P in al n~ fi~ ju rE tt C sl is 7: W vi IT L B rE P L B D P L G L, 0 e: IT 2 Chamber's S ndcastle Aug. expected to attract more than 100 teams The Rehoboth Beach-Dewey completed for judging by 3 plm. O'Connor will be on the beach at Beach Chamber of Commerce Participants may register their Rehoboth Avenue and the Board- will host the 36th Annual Sand- entry anytime between 8:30 a.m. walk from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. castle Contest Saturday, Aug. and 2:30 p.m. 1, giving sculpting demonstra- 2, at Fisherman's Beach at the Winners will be announcedtions and lessons. north end ofthe Rehoboth Beach at approximately 5 p.m. Judges Also, O'Connor will begin Boardwalk. are volunteers for the chamber, work on a community sculpture The contest is open to both Business members are encour- at 10 a.m., Saturday. Two specta- adults and children. Sculptures aged to compete in the Business tors serving as assistants will be may be started at any time on the category, allowed in the sculpting zone on day of competition, but must be Sand sculpting artist Darrell a rotating basis every 15 minutes. L The sculpture will be completed dent. In the event of bad weather,F by 3 p.m.. setup and registration may be c Prizes will be awarded to the delayed up until 10:30 a.m. If bada top 10 Judge's Favorites in both weather continues, the event will the adult and 7-14 child divisions, be postponed until the following A l One Judge's Favorite award will year. p be given in the Business category. If bad weather occurs during p Special awards are given to all the contest, participants may & participants in the 6 & under continue at will or at the dis- a children's division, cretion of lifeguards. Judging 2 Two People's Choice Awards may be cancelled at any time if a will be given during this year's warranted by current weather F contest, conditions. I- The general public can vote For more information, call c on their favorite Adult and Child the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey s F division creation by completing Beach Chamber of Commerce c an event evaiuation, at 302-227-6446 or go to www. g This event is weather depen- beach-fun.com.