Positivity reflected in her work over each of the 48 years she served Waxahachie ISD.
Pat McClendon, a 1951 Waxahachie High graduate and long-time Waxahachie ISD employee, officially retired from the district this week, after holding several positions throughout her near-five-decade tenure.
"Waxahachie ISD was good to me, that's why I stayed so long," McClendon emphasized several times during an interview Thursday.
McClendon started her journey with WISD working in the business office as a secretary for Max Simpson, an assistant superintendent, in 1970.
Simpson, who retired in 1991 said McClendon was initially hired to work as a secretary and managed invoices along with routine clerical work. The Waco resident was new to the area and recognized he needed a local to fill the position. McClendon's work experience and the fact she graduated from the district made her the ideal candidate.
McClendon exhibited a positive attitude, and that is how she approached her work daily.
"She is always efficient and very pleasant —always up," Simpson explained. "She maintained that her whole career. She was very consistent with how she looked at things and looked at people. She was a very good employee — positive, loyal."
For a short time, McClendon ran the office at Turner Middle School at a time only sixth-grade students attended. She then returned to the administrative building after a brief retirement in 1997. From then until Aug. 2018, McClendon served as the district's substitute coordinator.
"I didn't have a favorite [position]. I liked all of them. I went from one to the other because they were all so fun," McClendon said.
Jenny Bridges, WISD Director of Communications, released a statement on behalf of the district that thanked McClendon for her service.
"We are so thankful to Ms. Pat for everything that she has done over nearly 50 years with the district. She is a ray of sunshine, and always has a story to share. She is such an amazing asset to our community, and we will miss seeing her in the office every day."
McClendon thought it was time to retire, as her 85th birthday is quickly approaching. And, "I think 48 years was enough," she laughed.
"This time I could retire and sit back and watch what I'm watching now — Game Show Network. I don't watch stories. I watch Game Show Network," McClendon relayed.
In her spare time, she crafts handmade cards at home to give to friends, family and church members. In fact, she is taking a birthday card to an individual at The Avenue Church this Sunday.
"We just give them away. It's a hobby," she said.
When she is not elbow-deep in colored paper and stamps, she plans to spend time with her grand and great-grandchildren.
"Waxahachie ISD was good to me, and I hope I was as good to them as they were to me because it was just a good place to work," McClendon stressed. "They wanted to get the schools in good shape and wanted good things for the kids. Everyone I worked with was dedicated to Waxahachie ISD."
Along with the positivity she helped to instill throughout the district, McClendon also makes a consistent impact at The Avenue Church. She and a handful of women are professional greeters. As the church changed buildings and grew, so have the number of greeters.
"Her and about four others that have been doing it for years and were key figures in helping us move to the next level that has about 100 people a weekend that are doing that in guest services," Jason Bankhead, The Avenue family pastor, explained.
Bankhead emphasized her positivity, consistency and commitment to the church are all keys. As the church developed into a more contemporary worship setting, Bankhead said McClendon made a sacrifice. "The church is not the same as when she joined it. [...] But it's the families that keep her coming. She has been so selfless. She and some others have given up their preferences because young families are coming," Bankhead elaborated.
He also noted McClendon routinely talks about Waxahachie ISD and was always excited to share the number of years she had served the district. "She was always excited about school starting back up," Bankhead said.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450