“One of the most caring people I have ever known,” was the way most people described Merissa Leuty at a retirement reception held for her Thursday at the Red Oak ISD administration building.

Many district faculty and staff members, and friends from the community came out to support Leuty, who announced her retirement from the district in November.

Leuty is retiring after a total of 21-1/2 years in administration, with 16-1/2 of those with the district. She served as the superintendent secretary for 11-1/2 years, secretary to the assistant principal at Red Oak Junior High for one year and school secretary for Red Oak Elementary for four years. She also spent five years with Lancaster ISD.

Asked what she would miss the most, Leuty smiled and responded, “The people.”

“I just love the people here and I will definitely miss them. I have met so many people here and I’ve developed so many friendships here and I will carry so many wonderful memories with me,” she said.

Many people may have made an impact on Leuty’s life, but others said she has done the same for them in return.

“She is one of the nicest friends anyone could ever find,” receptionist Patsy Ryer said. “She’s very dependable and everything you could want in a friend and a co-worker. She’s a very precious lady.”

“Merissa has been invaluable to the district for so many years and we will greatly miss her,” board of trustees president John Hawkins said. “I wish her all the best in her retirement and I hope she will stay active in the district.”

“She’s an outstanding assistant and a real asset to the district,” public relations director Karen Miller said. “She’s a real friend and her integrity is above and beyond.”

“She’s one of the most caring people I have ever known,” ROISD Police Chief Scott Lindsey said. “She has a servant’s heart and she always thinks of others. She’s a pillar of strength, not only to the district, but to whomever has been fortunate to work with her. She is definitely going to be missed here.”

Superintendent of Schools Scott Niven said her leaving has left him with one regret, “not having longer to work with her.”

“When I arrived here in June, it was clear to see that she was very important to the district and I wish her all the best in her retirement,” Niven said.

As an expression of their appreciation for her service to the district, the administration presented Leuty with a white rocking chair assembled with a red bow.

Now that her working days are over, Leuty said she’s looking forward to being at home.

“I’m going to be a housewife and take care of my husband, Kyle,” she said with a laugh.  “I’m going to cook for him and everything.  I’m also going to enjoy being at home and spending more time with my Sunday school class and focus more on my home, my church and my family.”

E-mail Chicarra at chicarra.dense@wninews.com.