Anita Newman’s passion for children, specifically her nine grandchildren, will be something her daughter Carrie Munsey will always cherish and remember.
Newman, who worked for the Daviess County Public Schools district for 36 years, died Tuesday morning. She was 70.
Munsey has been working for the school district for 23 years. She tries to follow in her mother’s footsteps, she said, but they “sure are big shoes to fill.”
“She always had a smile on her face. She was always positive,” Munsey said. “She cared for everyone. She was very strong, and had a big heart. She had a passion for kids, and for teaching and loving everyone.”
Newman retired from the school district in 2012. She began her teaching career as a teacher at Masonville Elementary School in 1971. In 1978, she began working at Highland Elementary School, where she taught for 10 years before being named principal at Utica Elementary School in 1988.
She returned to Highland in 1989 as principal, where she remained until her retirement.
For her contribution to the district, and as a way to celebrate her legacy, the board of education approved last November to change the name of the road that leads up to Highland Elementary to Anita Newman Way.
Leslie Peveler, current Highland principal, worked with Newman from the 1990s until she retired in 2012. Her mother and Newman were also best friends so she considers her a second mother.
“She was an amazing woman,” Peveler said. “What Anita was best known for is her love for her family and her friends.”
Newman made a “huge impact” on education within the Daviess County school district, Peveler said, and she considered her a “wonderful mentor.”
“She taught me a whole lot,” she said. “She was dedicated to the people she loved most: family and children.”
If Peveler ever needed anything, especially anything having to do with Highland Elementary, “she was my voice of wisdom for guidance and truth.”
One thing that both Peveler and Munsey remember vividly about Newman was that she and her husband Claude tried hard not to ever miss one of their nine grandchildren’s ballgames.
Munsey said her mother and father even had a special calendar to keep track of all of the games.
“They would equally divide them up to make sure neither one of them missed a game,” Munsey said.
Another thing that Peveler remembers vividly was Newman’s first day of retirement, which was also Peveler’s first day as a principal.
Peveler’s mother, who also taught within DCPS and who retired in 2012, went to Cracker Barrel with Newman that day and took pictures of themselves sitting in the rocking chairs in front of the restaurant. The two sent well-wishes to their still-working friends with their smiling faces saying, “Wish you were here!” Peveler said.
“I just remember she was always willing to do just about anything to help motivate kids,” Peveler said, adding that sometimes that meant jumping off a diving board fully clothed, and sometimes it meant running down Highway 54 with a toilet plunger in her hand like a torch.
“We would do so many different things to motivate children, and she really wanted to be a part of that growth,” Peveler said.
Bobbie Hayse, email@example.com, 270-691-7315