The Florida Retired Educator’s Association held their annual convention in Altamonte Springs, from Wednesday through Friday, May 23-25.
The local chapter, Franklin/Gulf Retired Educator’s Association (F/GREA), was represented by President Missy Cumbie, Secretary Elinor Mount-Simmons, Treasurer Myra Ponder and members C.T. Ponder and Beverly Kelley.
Kelley, a former past president of the local chapter, held the position of president-elect of the state association the past two years and at the 2018 convention, was sworn in as the new state president. In giving her first speech as newly-elected president before the 200-plus attendees, Kelley shared that she was “honored to continue serving this tremendous group of retirees and looked forward to the next two-years of growing and having fun with the organization.”
During Kelley’s congratulatory remarks, she recognized her local unit, paying special tribute to its member, C.T. Ponder, a former Franklin County teacher, principal and superintendent, thanking him for his support of her when she became the first female principal of Apalachicola High School.
On having a member of her local unit as state president, Cumbie said that “it is great having Beverly as our new state president! She’s one of our own and we are all so excited about the upcoming two years under her leadership.”
Cumbie also commented that she was happy to have Mount-Simmons attending her first convention, remarking that “Elinor will soon be trading her secretarial duties for the position of F/GREA’s vice-president.”
Mount-Simmons, no stranger to teachers unions or their conventions, was a member for over 30 years of the local and state teachers’ unions before retiring in 2016.
“I learned a great deal from my first retired teachers’ convention and I came away with lots of idea to implement in my local group,” she said, adding that she appreciated Cumbie and Myra Ponder so willingly sharing their knowledge with her.
Elinor Mount-Simmons is the secretary of the Franklin/Gulf Retired Educators Association