BRADENTON -- Barbara Harvey's relationship with the Manatee County School District began Aug. 17, 1961. For more than 50 years, Harvey has worked with the district in one way or another.
On Tuesday, in honor of Harvey's last meeting as a Manatee School Board board member, Superintendent Rick Mills presented her with an engraved journal and a framed copy of her first contract with the district, which included her salary.
"We love you, we'll miss you and we wish you the very best," Mills said.
Board members, district officials and community members had celebrated Harvey's service to the district at a surprise party Monday at Pier 22.
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Harvey, a school board member since 1998, has held the seat 16 years.
When she was hired by the district as a teacher, Harvey earned $4,000 a year -- slightly above the district average of $3,700 at the time.
She began teaching at Memorial Elementary School in Palmetto and at Palma Sola Elementary School. She also worked as an assistant principal at Palmetto Elementary School and was principal at Miller Elementary.
She then went to work as district director of elementary education. She retired in June 1995.
Board members expressed thanks to Harvey for being a positive force.
"You are leaving this district better than you found it," said board member Bob Gause.
Harvey reflected on her time in the district. "It's been phenomenal," she said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitternote>