Veteran local educator bidding farewell after 37-plus years

Posted: May 14, 2013

The Winchester Star

Sally Megeath, assistant head of school at Powhatan School in Boyce, reads a story with kindergartners Meghan Duley (from left), Sophia Appiah and Duncan Mackey on Monday. Megeath is retiring after more than 37 years in education. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

         BOYCE

Sally Megeath remembers the electrical fire that destroyed her fourth-grade classroom at Powhatan School in 1988.

She greeted her 18 students on that day in the library and wondered, “How in the world am I going to teach these children?”

She then saw the books around her and found her answer.

“It completely changed the way I taught,” she said. “It was a defining moment.”

After finding ways to reach students for a combined 20 years at Powhatan, the lower school director and assistant head of the school will retire June 28.

“Here, you’re a family,” she said. “A real community. I’ll miss being a part of that community. I know I will.”

Megeath, a Front Royal native, has spent more than 37 years as an educator. She began her career at Winchester Intermediate School — what is now Douglas Community Learning Center — as a seventh-grade teacher.

After taking time off to raise her two sons, Megeath was hired at Powhatan, an independent day school (kindergarten through eighth-grade), as a kindergarten instructional assistant in 1979. She was a fourth-grade teacher for the next 11 years while also serving as director of admissions.

Megeath headed next to Frederick County Public Schools because she needed a higher salary in order to support her ailing husband and two children. During her tenure in the county, she served as principal at Senseny Road and Redbud Run elementary schools and as the division’s supervisor of instruction. The students and staff she worked with during those years will remember her as Sally Hovermale.

In 2005, Megeath was invited back to Powhatan as the director of the lower school.

In this role, she oversees the instructional program of students in kindergarten through fifth grade, helps with the admission and placement of the students, coaches new teachers, approves field trips and helps to hire staff members.

As assistant head, she evaluates the performance of all personnel.

“Sally is undoubtedly one of the finest colleagues with whom I have worked,” said Head of School Sue Scarborough in an e-mail. “Her outlook on life, love of children and wonderful sense of humor make all our days at Powhatan sunny and fun. We will all miss her greatly.”

Megeath said her biggest love is knowing the name of each of the 150 lower school students, the ways they learn best and the books they like to read.

“I will miss the everyday contact with students,” she said. “As director, I could become more directly involved in instruction. I like what goes on in the classroom. I know each child individually, and I delight in that.”

Kindergarten teacher Julie Scheulen said her students love the times when Megeath pops into their classroom because she has something to say to every child.

“She’s extremely patient with both teachers and students,” Scheulen said.

Megeath will spend her retirement traveling, visiting her two grandchildren in New Jersey, reading, playing bridge and volunteering.

“I loved every day of my working career,” she said. “[Powhatan] really was the right place for me.”

Kevin Hessberg will take over for Megeath as the lower school director beginning July 1.

He graduated from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia with a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

Hessberg has taught a range of ages and content areas and most recently served as an adjunct professor at James Madison University and as the academic and logistics coordinator for an academic enrichment summer camp at the University of Virginia.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com