Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Allie Mae Stevens

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

By Lillye Younger

School Marm In Executive's Role

PARSONS, Tenn. — "My ambition in life since grade school was to become a school teacher," explains Mrs. Allie Mae Stevens, who has spent 36 years as a school marm.

"The one person who influenced me most was Allie Jennings, a retired Decatur County school teacher," she says.

Highlight of Mrs. Stevens' career came when she was elected this year by the Decatur County School Board as principal of Riverside High School here.

"I didn't apply for the position and I even rejected it the first time I was approached," he recalls.

The school board had quite a time electing a princia1. Harold Holmes, Riverside's first principal, was reelected but resigned. Bob Jarvis of Trenton then was elected, hut he too resigned Later Bill Rogers, a former Decatur Countian teaching in Kentucky, was elected but he was unable to get a contract release. Mrs. Stevens then was named.

Mrs. Stevens was the first woman principal to be named in Decatur County since 1928 when Mrs. Hobart Johnson was principal of Parsons High School

"It's the most challenging work I have ever experienced in my 36 years of service; my work varies so much and there are so many different phases of it," the educator says.

"We have a devotional the first thing in the morning," she explains. "It is transmitted to the classrooms over the intercommunication system and is rotated among the four high school grades. After the devotion I make announcements for the day. Then I'm ready to help the teachers."

Mrs. Stevens was the first person to serve as guidance counselor in Decatur County when she filled the position at Riverside last year "I still counsel a lot with the students," she commented.

The student body has grown to love "Miss Allie Mae" from her helpful counseling with them the past year The first day of school the whole student body gave a standing ovation.

"My objective as principal of Riverside High School is to upgrade the school so that we can become a member of the Southern Association of High Schools," the educator said. "Only one year old, Riverside will have to have a two-year training period to be elevated by the State Dept. of Education to become a member."

"The greatest desire I have in my present position is to be able to help each student to become a better citizen in this jet age."

The school's facilities include the distribution education program which enables students to choose and train for their vocation. After the first year's training they go out and do practice work one half-day Thirteen students are taking advantage of this course.

This year V.O.E. courses are being offered for the first time. This includes all types of business administration for the junior and seniors. The second year these students also go out and work one half day for practice and receive a small salary.

The home economics department has a new vocational program introduced this year. It is a two-year session in child care, dietitians, nurses and waitresses. Students may choose what phase they are most interested in and receive training in that field.

Riverside High School has an enrollment of 501 students. There are 34 negroes and 467 whites. Decatur County was one of the first counties to become integrated. There are 26 teachers. A modern lunchroom is supervised by Mrs. Louise Patterson.

Mrs. Stevens' teaching career goes back to 1930 when she taught her first school at Perryvile, her hometown.

She taught two years at Spence Chapel, two years at Bunches Chapel, and eight years at Parsons. She served as supervisor of schools in Decatur County for 16 years during Superintendents C. A. Palmer, Jack Stevens and Guy Kennedy's terms.

Four years she taught in the public school system at Panama City, Fla. She served as librarian at Parsons High School.

A graduate of Union University, where she received her B.S. degree, Mrs. Stevens also holds a masters degree from George Peabody College. She has 42 hours on her post-graduate work toward her Master degree in guidance and psychology.

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Tinker, she is married to Billy J. Stevens, principal of Parsons Junior High School.

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