Clarence “Buddy” Lloyd has covered many facets of the education field over the course of his 32-year career in the Smyrna School District, but now he’s bringing his long career in the school district to a close. Lloyd, 58, will retire at the end of October.

 


Clarence “Buddy” Lloyd has covered many facets of the education field over the course of his 32-year career in the Smyrna School District.

He taught students how to solve math problems. He coached state champion wrestlers. He helped plan and oversee the construction of new schools.

His resume even includes stints as transportation supervisor and athletic director.

He was Smyrna High’s principal for several years, and he’s currently the district’s assistant superintendent.

But now he’s bringing his long career in the school district to a close.

Lloyd, 58, will retire at the end of October.

“I’ve done quite a few things,” Lloyd said. “I’m very familiar with the district. I know a lot of the parents, and I know a lot of the grandparents. It’s been a good journey.”

From student to administrator

A lifelong Smyrna resident, Lloyd graduated from Smyrna High with the class of 1970.

He began his career with the Smyrna School District in January of 1975 as a math teacher at Smyrna High.

He later began to teach primarily social studies, and eventually became the chair of the social studies department. He was also a class advisor, and recalls winning the Homecoming float competition a couple times.

In the early ’80s, Lloyd made the switch to administration upon earning his master’s degree. He became assistant to the principal at Smyrna High, and also assumed the responsibilities of transportation supervisor.

Later, in 1985, Lloyd left education to concentrate on a private business venture, B&D Deli on Glenwood Avenue. Lloyd was co-owner of the business along with Dave Morrison.

In 1990, Lloyd sold the business and went back to teaching at Smyrna Middle School, which was then located in the building now known as John Bassett Moore Intermediate School.

While the school district was going through renovations in the early ’90s, Lloyd started teaching math and social studies to eighth graders who were moved over to the high school.

Beginning in 1995, he returned to the position of assistant principal at the high school, and in the summer of 1997 moved up to principal, where he remained for several years.

In 2004, Lloyd began his tenure as assistant superintendent.

One person who’s been able to watch Lloyd each step of the way is Ron Eby, who is now president of the Smyrna Board of Education.

When Eby started teaching in Smyrna in 1964, Lloyd was a seventh grade student in Eby’s first classroom.

Eby was also Lloyd’s wrestling coach, and watched him win a state title in 1970. Later down the line, Eby was “thrilled to death” to hand the reins of the Smyrna wrestling program to Lloyd, who led the team as head coach from 1977-83. Prior to that, Lloyd started the Little Wrestlers program, which has blossomed into the biggest feeder program in the state.

“When he graduated from college, we were very fortunate he decided to come back to his home school,” said Eby, who marveled at the energy Lloyd brought to the district.

“He’s the hardest working person I’ve ever been around,” Eby said. “He will do anything for you. He just can’t stand still. There’s just no one like him.”

A changing district, with lasting traditions

The Smyrna School District has grown dramatically from the time Buddy Lloyd was a student here, and he’s seen the transformation firsthand while working in the district.

He recalled graduating classes of around 160 students when he started teaching in the mid-70s. Now the district has close to 400 students per grade at the elementary school level.

“The district has gotten large, but we still have a lot of the same values and traditions we had,” Lloyd said.

Despite changes to the landscape around Smyrna, community traditions like the float competition on Homecoming are still going strong.

Lloyd said he’s proud of the district’s recent construction projects, which he helped guide as assistant superintendent.

“I’m proud of the new gym, the field house, the addition to the high school – all those things I’ve worked on the past three years,” he said. “Now, to see it there, and to see it being used and being enjoyed is quite rewarding.”

On education

Looking ahead to his retirement, Lloyd said he plans to spend a lot of time with his grandchildren.

Though he’ll no longer be an employee, Lloyd told Superintendent Debbie Wicks that he’s “as close as a phone call” if the district needs him for anything.

Regarding education today, Lloyd cited personal philosophical issues with some of the state and federal government initiatives, like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

Although the intent is good, these initiatives “have lost focus on the students” and are “more concerned about data and testing than creating well-rounded, educated people,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd felt he couldn’t make a four-year commitment to the Race to the Top project, which was a factor in his decision to retire, he said.

Looking back at his time in the district, Lloyd said one of the most rewarding experiences was seeing some students, “who had a lot of cards stacked against them,” persevere and graduate.

Lloyd also said that the opportunities are pretty much endless for students in the Smyrna School District. Like many things in life, students tend to get as much out of their education as they put into it, he said.

Smyrna students have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, and politicians, and have attended Ivy League schools, Lloyd said.

“The teachers and the community provide the students in the area an excellent opportunity to get a good education and move on with their lives,” he said.