PREA celebrates 50th anniversary

Past presidents of Polk Retired Educators Association gathered together during a celebration of the club’s 50th anniversary at the Cherokee Country Club in early February.

Polk Retired Educators Association celebrated 50 years of its founding by honoring the founder and past presidents of the organization. During their February 6 meeting, president-elect Dr. Sherri Garrett shared a brief history of the founding of PREA along with special recognition of past presidents.

Polk Retired Educators Association (PREA) was founded by Mr. Kankakee “Buck” Anderson, who also served as superintendent of Polk County Schools from 1941-1956. He was a graduate of Berry College and the University of Georgia. During his administration new buildings were constructed and teachers received raises in salary to aid in making Polk competitive with surrounding counties.

In 1951, during his final year as superintendent, Kankakee Anderson also served as president of Georgia Educators Association, later known as Georgia Association of Educators. In 1969, after his retirement, Kankakee Anderson realized that the retired educators of Polk County needed an outlet to provide support to retired educators and to network with other retired educators around the state. It is through this original purpose that an expansion of services have evolved through PREA.

Not long after founding PREA, Kankakee Anderson served as president of Georgia Retired Teachers Association in 1971. In 1989, he along with his wife Betty, served as co-presidents of PREA.

During the 50th Anniversary celebration past-presidents of PREA were recognized and acknowledged for their guidance in building a strong foundation within the organization. In the first year of PREA’s existence, 1969-79, the organization was led by Apphia Griffith an elementary principal. Over the past 50 years the organization has had 38 different individuals to serve as president.

Some of those individuals have served more than one term as president: Brenda Richardson: 2004-2005 & 2009-2010; Judy Angle: 2008-2009 & 2013-2015; Lynda Rutland: 2011-2013, 2015-2017, co-president 2019-present; Andrea Sorrells: 2017-2019 & co-president 2019-present.

PREA has had some distinguished educators to grace the rank of president. To name a few:

♦ R.A. Bryant (1979-81) – Principal, Cedar Hill High School

♦ L.B. Wheeler (1984-85) – Principal, Purks Junior High

♦ Odell Owens (1985-86) – President, Georgia Association of Educators

♦ Mary Brewster (1991-92) – Outstanding Educator in Business Education in the state of Georgia

♦ Guy Rutland (1995-96) –Area Director, Georgia Retired Educators Association

At the February meeting the past presidents in attendance were presented with a long-stemmed carnation and celebratory cake. Those past presidents in attendance were:

♦ Bernard Willoughby (1994-1995)

♦ Linda Lee (1997-1998)

♦ Mary W. Callins (2005-2007)

♦ Judy Angle (2008-2009) & (2013-2015)

♦ Andrea Sorrells (2017-2019) & (2019 –present)

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