The Secretary of the Vernon Parish Retired Teachers' Association, Brenda Bealer, expressed appreciation to Self for honoring the retirees. She also introduced the Retired Teacher of the Year, Jane Holton, who was presented a plaque attesting to her value to the school system.

On March 21, 2014, Jackie Self, Superintendent, Vernon Parish Schools; Jimmy Funderburk, Assistant Superintendent; and the central office staff held a reception to honor retired teachers of the parish.

The Secretary of the Vernon Parish Retired Teachers’ Association, Brenda Bealer, expressed appreciation to Self for honoring the retirees. She also introduced the Retired Teacher of the Year, Jane Holton, who was presented a plaque attesting to her value to the school system.

Holton, who came to Leesville in 1959, initiated the music programs at both Pickering and Evans, and later taught at Simpson and Hicks. After teaching music for several years, she earned a master’s degree in counseling and guidance, after which she became the counselor at West Leesville Elementary School, a position she held for 20 years.

Holton commented that when she first arrived in Leesville as Miss Jane Brigance, she considered it a temporary stop on a much longer journey.

“I planned to stay a year or two and then move on because I enjoyed traveling,” said Holton. “Then I met a young man named Don Holton, and the lure of traveling suddenly disappeared.”

The couple have three sons and three grandchildren.

In addition to having been a dedicated music teacher and a counselor, Holton served as pianist at the First Baptist Church of Leesville for 30 years. She surprised everyone when she said she was self-taught and played by ear before she had formal music instruction.

Self concluded the reception by saying the foremost criterion for a great school system is the dedicated teachers and staffs, and Vernon Parish teachers have always delivered quality educational experiences for students.

Additionally, he noted that the Vernon Parish School System has received a grade of A, the highest possible, and is ranked fourth in the state with a score of 104.6 on the State District Performance Score.