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Retiring teacher celebrated, serenaded by mariachis in final send-off

In the parking lot of Wood Middle School, cars honked, music played, and friends cheered to celebrate the end of an era.

“Today, we have one of Wood’s finest, Nancy Ankrom; she is retiring from Wood after 35 years of service,” school principal Marcus Alvarez said.

Alvarez joined fellow and former Wood staff members, parents, students, and friends to honor her in a drive-thru send-off. 

The school’s mariachis and orchestra also played music especially for her.

“I grew up at this school,” Ankrom said excitedly.

Ankrom started as a math teacher at Wood in 1985 at the age of 21 right after graduating college.

She said there’s a stark contrast between her first day and her last. 

“In 1985, we were really big and we had like almost 3,000 kids and the halls were really packed. Now, the halls are empty. With COVID-19, there’s no kids and everything is done with distance learning,” she explained.

Over the course of three decades, Ankrom has touched the lives of hundreds of teachers and over 7,000 students. 

“It’s really been a lot of fun. Meaningful; powerful,” she said.

 Alvarez said as a leader and a mentor to so many, she will be missed.

“She’s been the heart and soul of our campus for a long time,” he added.

Ankrom was also presented with a plaque commemorating her years on campus. “It’s been such a blessing, a joy, privilege, and honor. It has touched my heart in so many ways,” she said.

And, in a time when teachers are appreciated now more than ever, it’s a reminder to thank all teachers for what they do every day. 

“Teaching is such an amazing profession; just know that what you do matters,” Ankrom said.

Because #NEISDcares!


Ashley Speller