Brenda Davis bids farewell

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Yazoo County School District has made great strides in advancing its programs and facilities in recent years. 

To accomplish this task, all employees of the Yazoo County Schools must work together like a well-oiled machine. 

One employee who has played a major role in the district’s progress, Brenda Davis, recently retired after dedicating 30 years to the central office working as a secretary and receptionist. Davis also played a distinct role in revitalizing the management of 16th section lands.

Davis began working for the Yazoo County School District in 1999 during the Harold Middleton administration. 

"The offices were located downtown on Jefferson Street," she said. "I was a secretary and the receptionist, I entered old school records into a program, and I also did the 16th Section land too. Back then it was all done in ledger books, and we were just filling in the blanks on all of the leases and things like that."

Davis continued her work at the central office on Jefferson Street until a tornado struck the area in the fall of 2010, forcing the school district to relocate its central office.

"We had to move everything from that place," she said. "We moved it all to the old Yazoo Valley Building on 15th Street, and we stayed there for a while."

Davis and her coworkers made the best of their temporary location until the Yazoo County School District built the current central office on the Yazoo County Schools campus in 2013.

Davis said that through the years she worked under a variety of school boards and newly elected or appointed superintendents, such as Buddy Smith, Dr. Jack Nicholson, Becky Fisher, and the current Dr. Ken Barron.

"We had some good times down there," Davis said. "Before Mickey Rivers came in, everybody was quiet and stayed in their office. But when Mickey came he changed all that, and it was a real pleasure because he was always cutting up and joking."

Davis said that another character in the central office at one time was Dr. Tom Taylor, who was the assistant superintendent and 16th Section land manager during his tenure.

"You never knew what he was going to do," Davis said. "One day I turned a corner coming into my office and there was a big mummy laying in the floor.  He was really just something else."

Davis also reflected on how proud she was of her work in the area of 16th Section land when Mickey Rivers came on board.

"He and I revamped the 16th Section program when it was still in the ledger books," she said. "We went on the computer with Marathon who writes all of our programs, and I worked with them for about a year to get all of the kinks out. They downloaded all of our stuff, and we were on the computer then."

Davis said that most of the background work prior to moving into a computer generated system included separating files of paperwork and organizing them into hunting and agricultural leases. 

"Mickey and I worked very closely together," she said. "Over the years we quadrupled the revenue on the 16th section.  I got to know a lot of people by working the 16th section, from the farmers and the agricultural people.  I enjoyed all of the people that I worked with, and I think that is what I will miss the most."

Davis added that she enjoyed her 30 years with the Yazoo County School District, adding that her fellow employees became more like a family to her over time.

"You are with them more than you are with anybody else," she said. "We had some good times.  We worked hard but we had fun."

Davis and her coworkers celebrated her last day at work on June 30 with a retirement party at the central office. 

"It was really nice, and I enjoyed all of the food and the fellowship," she said.

Newly retired, Davis has spent the last week resting and relaxing at home, or traveling across Mississippi roads to watch her grandchildren play in baseball tournaments.

"I am very independent, and I just do what I want to do," she said.

Some of her other plans include traveling to visit her children and grandchildren, and participating in the nursing home ministry at Midway Baptist Church, where she plays the piano.

While she is ready to enjoy her retirement, Davis had a few heartfelt words for the school district where she worked for so many years.

"I would like to thank the Yazoo County School District and the school board for being there, and for the improvements they have made," she said. "I would also like to thank all of the superintendents and all of my coworkers for being there and being like a family to me."