"I have been teaching fourth-grade for nine years and I taught third-grade for 21 years," Eastside Elementary teacher Rachel Fagg said. "And I have been in the same building with my sister for 17 of those years."
Fagg is the older sister to Eastside Elementary Principal Mary Ray.
"It was one of the hang-ups at the time for me to get the job and the school board spent a lot of time discussing it," Ray said.
"I was actually interviewed by the superintendent at the time to see if I would be OK if she was my boss," Fagg added. "Mary is younger than I am and they didn't want any conflict."
However, the duo has worked well together, and never mixed family matters with school.
"I don't even remember now what it was about, but she was the first teacher I said no to," Ray said with a smile.
Though they worked in the same building only separated by a few walls, there were days when they wouldn't see each other.
"It's funny because mom would call and ask about something going on in the family," Ray said. "Then she would ask if I'd talked to Rachel about it and I would say 'No mom, I haven't really seen her today.'"
Fagg and Ray credit their mother Va Donna Pell, 92, with the guidance and tolerance she instilled in them to be able to do their job.
"Our grandmother was a teacher and our mother should've been because she developed our skills and taught us how to think outside the box," Fagg said.
With her retirement, she is hoping to spend more time with her family, including her mother.
"I plan to spend time with my family, including my 11 grandchildren and outside gardening," she said. "Things that I have put off doing until retirement, I can do now."
Though the school year is over and Fagg is retired, she doesn't feel it.
"It is like the end of the school year and the excitement of summer break," she said. "I figure in August I will feel retired, when meetings begin and the buses start driving down the street, I'll feel it then."
With her sister retired, Ray is hoping for some of her time too.
"I would like more time together as sisters," she said. "I will miss her but not because she is my sister, but because she is an excellent teacher and she is always one of the first to embrace new teaching strategies and make it work."
Even with all of the changes that Fagg has seen throughout her years in the Clay Community Schools Corporation some things haven't changed. Even on her last day of retirement, she still had the tub in her classroom. The idea came to her while she was substituting, students sit in the tub with pillows during free time or recess and play games, read or relax.
"I thought about using it for something else for a while, but then former students would come in and say, 'Oh you still have the tub,'" she said with a laugh. "If that's what they remembered then I'm OK with that."
With so many years of teaching Fagg found the greatest joy in watching the children make improvements.
"Watching the light come on for a child is really wonderful," she said. "All children can learn but taking them from one level at the beginning of the year and moving them ahead by the end of the year is the most rewarding."
Even with all the changes that have occurred during her tenure of teaching, Fagg regrets nothing.
"I have enjoyed working with Mary and the staff," she said. "I would do it all again."