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VAIDEN, Miss. (AP) — After 15 years, Rubye Miller says it's time to retire from the Carroll County School Board, and she will not run again.
She said some people in Vaiden have expressed concern about her decision, but she believes it's time.
"I need to be loose now," she said. "In this last quarter of life, I want to have only wants with few demands."
Miller, 75, feels she is leaving the district on a good note and is happy she was part of some real advancement.
"They have a good academic program," she said. "I was able to see the gym, band hall and field house built. These are things that are very important to students. I am very proud of these facilities. Sometimes it is the extracurricular activities that hold them in school."
Miller came to Vaiden from Winona to purchase a large, older home for a bed-and-breakfast business.
"When I saw this house, I knew it was the one. I had not really planned to move to Vaiden," she said.
She has enjoyed the venture but now feels it's too much for her.
"I want to downsize," she said. "I plan to move to Duck Hill, where I own a small house, when my home sells."
Set on a hill in Court Street in Vaiden, The Heritage House, her B & B, includes a gazebo, servant quarters, and a storage house, in addition to a large yard.
Miller has lived and worked there, completing most of the renovation and upkeep herself.
She has stacks of photo albums and guest books full of mementos from the many people she has hosted through the years.
After a lifetime of involvement in education that includes teaching, counseling and serving as principal of Winona High School, Miller retired and decided to tackle the B & B business.
Clarence Newman of Vaiden had given up his position on the school board, and someone put forth Miller's name. She was asked to fill out his term, and then she ran to keep the seat when that term was up.
She won three consecutive terms on the board and has enjoyed most of it, though there have been difficulties.
"It's been a good tenure," she said. "I am blessed. Some things, even when I voted negatively, may have turned out for the children's good."
The children's good is the theme of Miller's lifetime of service and work.
"You've got to stay focused on why you're there. As board members, you have to know who you are, what you stand for — your principles and convictions," she said. "I knew me. Education for the children of Carroll County is important. It's only by way of education I was able to accomplish the things I have.
"Not everyone will go to college or grad school, but getting the best education possible in the public schools is important," she said. "About 80 percent of them stay here, so providing the opportunity for a good education is economic development for the area."
At times, being a board member was hard.
"Sometimes people seemed to have an agenda," she said. "Listening became boring. You wondered how people could think like that."
Miller sat through it all, with a quiet demeanor that never seemed to be ruffled or upset, even when she expressed an opinion that was not in the majority.
"It was crazy at times," she said. "What you must know is this: When you know who you are, you must register your conviction and your vote, even if you lose. I didn't mind registering a vote not in the majority if I felt it was in the best interests of the children. I never felt like backing down even one time."
Seeing through the political agendas was the biggest challenge, Miller said. Sometimes board members would call her at home, trying to enlist her support, but she said that did not persuade her if she truly thought she was right.
Miller said her biggest disappointment in representing her district was the closing of Hathorn Elementary School in Vaiden, a decision she still believes was wrong.
"I lost sleep over it. It really hurt my heart," she said. "I didn't see it coming. If we could have just talked it out, even if we lost, that would have helped.
"For little children to have to be at a bus stop at 6 a.m. and not get home until 5 or 6 p.m. is just wrong. It's hard for parents when their children get sick and they have to pick them up or for people without transportation," she said. "I had to pray to turn it loose."
Despite that disappointment, Miller says her time on the board was a good one, and it's something she does not regret.
So now, Miller will have for family and for personal enjoyment in new directions.
"I have one son who lives in Huntsville (Alabama), three granddaughters, and just became a great-grandmother. I look forward to spoiling the great grandchildren, since when the others were young I was working."
Information from: The Greenwood Commonwealth, http://www.gwcommonwealth.com