By Katie Ward
Community News Writer
Hixson High School vice principal Gary Gill is retiring after serving Hamilton County Schools for 30 years, while Betty Rutherford, head of the math department at Hixson High, is retiring after 35 years in teaching.
Both educators were loved by the students, parents and faculty of Hixson High School.
“I have been at Hixson High for 12 years,” Mr. Gill said.
In his teaching career he taught and coached at Northside Junior High in 1976, now called Chattanooga Middle School; Tyner Junior High from 1978-80; Elbert Long Junior High from 1980-85; and taught at Brainerd Junior High from 1985-94. During his career he has coached track, football, baseball and basketball. He has taught biology and physical education.
“My first three years at Hixson High, I was dean of students and coached basketball,” he said. “Then, I became assistant principal in 1998. I handled discipline, was in charge of all textbooks at the school, scheduled, monitored the halls and cafeteria.”
He explained that the staff at Hixson High is very close.
“Everyone works well together,” he said. “They have supported me ever since I have been here and I have done my best to support every teacher here.”
Now in retirement, Mr. Gill plans to continue working, but in a different field.
He plans to work for a travel agency booking group tours called “Groups on Tour.”
“I am looking forward to my position,” he said. “I will still be working with kids a lot. The company has done a lot of our trips at the high school.”
The owner of the company, Cindy Wilkins, asked Mr. Gill if he would work for her after he retired, while on a school trip five years ago in Costa Rica.
“A couple of teachers here are already booking trips,” he said. “Our theater arts teacher (Susie Frazier) hopes to go to the Hollywood area.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Rutherford plans to also begin another profession in her retirement.
“I will work part-time for my husband,” she said. “He has his own business called Rutherford & Associates. I will do his accounting and book work for the business.”
She also plans to join the Master Gardeners through taking a class in January at Chattanooga State.
In Mrs. Rutherford’s teaching career, she spent the first eight years at Notre Dame High teaching mathematics and spent the last 27 years at Hixson High School.
“At Hixson High I taught every math subject except calculus,” she said. “I have taught algebra I, algebra II, math 4, pre-calculus, foundations I, geometry and pre-calculus.”
Of those subjects, she enjoyed teaching pre-calculus the best. Her least favorite to teach was geometry. She has taught every high school grade level.
She has sponsored the Beta and Eco Clubs while at Hixson. She has also served on the voting committee for Mr. and Miss Hixson and Homecoming Queen.
“I used to play teacher with my brothers growing up,” Mrs. Rutherford said. “I always liked math and always wanted to be a teacher.”
E-mail Katie Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org