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Happy trails: Longtime educator retires at Boyd

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, December 16, 2017
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So Long

SO LONG – For her retirement, Boyd ISD gifted Brenda Tilson a carriage ride around town. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Getting up and going to school is all Brenda Tilson has ever known.

Over the past 37 years, that meant teaching elementary school or helping students as a counselor on the various Boyd ISD campuses.

“It does make me nervous, to be honest, to get up and not to go to school,” Tilson admitted Wednesday before her retirement party at Boyd High School. “I was thinking, I’ve gotten up and gone to school since I was 5 years old. For 53 years, I’ve been getting up and going to school.”

On the final day for the cherished educator, the district surprised her with a carriage ride through town and to the district’s four campuses. Students lined the parking lots and Knox Street to wave and wish Tilson well in her retirement.

Surprise Gift

SURPRISE GIFT – Brenda Tilson shrieks in surprise when she sees the carriage waiting for her. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“Oh, my goodness. I was incredibly surprised,” Tilson said. “I love all those kids, and I’ve been able to be on every campus. It was just so – I can’t even describe it.”

Tilson took a job as a fifth-grade teacher at Boyd in 1981 after graduating from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. She taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades, along with spending a year as a music teacher, totaling more than 21 years at the elementary level.

She then became a counselor, moving to the various campuses, including finishing up at the high school.

“I love children, and when I say children, I mean from the 12th grade on down,” Tilson said. “They are a joy to be with and work with and get to know. For me, it’s been the best job I could ever have.

“It didn’t feel like a job. Some days were harder than others and sometimes years were harder than others, but I always wanted to come to school.”

Tilson made an impact with generations of students at Boyd. She pointed out that a girl at the elementary is the granddaughter of a student in her first class.

“She’s been an icon in Boyd,” said Boyd Elementary Principal Anke Bracey. “She’s been on every campus. She’s not only touched the lives of every student, but also many of their parents. She will be missed.

“You could always ask yourself, ‘What would Brenda Tilson do?’ and make the right choice,” she said. “She’s a wonderful person that loves kids and people.”

Boyd High School Principal Susan Foster said Tilson has been a great asset since she’s known many of them all their lives.

“She’s a great lady that does so much for the kids,” Foster said.

Tilson moved to Boyd after teaching in the community for a little more than a year. Both of her sons spent their entire academic careers in the district.

“Boyd’s been so good to them,” Tilson said.

Over the years, Tilson also stayed in the only district she has ever known as an educator.

“I’ve had such a wonderful experience that there was never a reason to leave,” Tilson said.

Boyd ISD Superintendent Ted West expects Tilson will still be involved in the community and school district.

“She’s such a huge part of the community,” West said. “I know for a fact she’ll stay involved in the community, and we’ll see her around here. I don’t think she can stay away. She loves kids that much.”

Tilson, who lost her father this past summer, plans to spend time hanging out with her mother. But as of Wednesday, she was still trying to grasp that her 37-year run was ending.

“It hasn’t hit me. Today was a regular work day. I just worked, and I’m not finished,” Tilson said.

“It’s flown by. I can’t believe it.”

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