BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It was August of 1962.
Inside the walls of Pipe Shop Junior High School, a young Margaret Beard was just beginning her teaching career.
“I would take my kids in the afternoons, and I would bring in China and I would teach them how to eat properly,” Beard said of her experiences during the first year.
One year later, Beard was also given the task of teaching her all black class a real-life history lesson. She had to explain the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.
In 1969, as Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, Beard was launching a new career at Brighton High School.
Her work didn’t end there, though.
By the end of 1969 she was offered yet another challenge. She was asked to integrate the faculty of McAdory High School, which was an all-white school at the time.
“I went it and I said, ‘We [are] going to get along,’ and I said my little speech,” Beard commented. “We’re going to get along, we’re going to make this the best school in Jefferson County and we’re going to work together.”
Through the 1970s and 1980s, as the computer age began, she moved through the education ranks in Jefferson County School System.
She served as the director of a teen pregnancy program, an assistant principal, director of student services and her current position, Director of Compliance and Minority Affairs.
Beard never thought her career would span 51 years, and she never imagined the impact she would have on her other students, such as Bo Jackson.
“My students were just like my children to me,” Beard said. “I always made them do everything, do the very best they could do.”
Her track record speaks for itself.
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