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Mary Beth Dellinger wants to be a voice for teachers

EDITORS NOTE: Now that we have published stories about the five candidates running for the District 2 seat of the Washington County Board of Education we will publish their stories online. The order will be as follows; Bob Cantler (Wednesday), Mary Beth Dellinger (Thursday), Todd Ganger (Friday), Phillip McLain (Saturday) and Vince Walters (Sunday). Each will appear in the Community News Section on the website.


Staff Writer

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Mary Beth Dellinger has a keen understanding of what a teacher needs to do his or her job. The longtime Lamar and Gray teacher was in those shoes for 35 years.

Dellinger started at Lamar and continued there for 13 years, before retiring from Gray after 22 years of teaching there. Having spent so much time in Washington County, Dellinger knows what teachers need to get the job done in their classrooms.

Mary Beth Dellinger HS
Mary Beth Dellinger

“I just know what classrooms need to succeed and I feel like I have a good rapport with teachers,” Dellinger said. “They can come to me and I can be their voice on the board.”

She is also able to keep up with current education issues as her part-time position as an adjunct faculty member at East Tennessee State University where she serves as a student teacher supervisor. In that position she oversees 10-12  student teachers in eight counties in Northeast Tennessee and observes them in the classroom setting.

Before taking a step into the teaching arena, Dellinger graduated from David Crockett in 1973 and went on to graduate from East Tennessee State University and received her master’s of education from Tusculum College.

With all of those years in education, Dellinger said that she wants to take that experience to the school board.

“I want to be a member of the school board because I have had teachers ask me to go on the board in order to be a voice for them,” Dellinger said. “I’m not saying that the other board members aren’t listening, I am just saying that they want to be able to feel comfortable and come to me.

“Washington County has excellent teachers; they just need to be supported more from the administration. And that is why, I think, they have asked me to run as a candidate.”

Some of her most enjoyable memories came from her first-grade classroom, where she was able to welcome students and help them gain the needed achievements to move onto the next level.

“That is where you can just see their growth. When they come in, some may be non-readers and by then end, you just hope that a light bulb goes off and they just blossom over the first-grade year.”

Dellinger said that if she is elected, she would look forward to working with new Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton, who she called a fresh start for the county. The 35-year teacher said that she was energized by Halliburton’s vision of technology in the classroom.

“That is what I am excited about with Kimber Halliburton, is that she wants to make technology a priority,” Dellinger said.

Another big issue is a new Boones Creek school, which Dellinger said that she didn’t think that the board of education needed to rush into a decision, because it was a big project that would affect generations of children.