Beloved M.S. Phys. Ed Teacher to Retire

Posted on May 7, 2015 by


The enthusiastic middle school gym teacher that students have all come to know, Mrs. Debra Phillips, has decided to retire after the 2014/2015 school year. This was a very difficult decision for her to make, and she has been considering it for two long years.

Phillips believes that it is too soon to leave her teaching career in the dust for the luxury life in retirement. She was not ready to accept the lifestyle changes, and that is why it took her so long to make this decision to leave. Although it will be a hard adjustment for Phillips to make, she will enjoy the free time with her friends and family.

“I considered retiring for two years now but quickly dismissed the idea of it,” Phillips said.

Phillips graduated from Pottstown Senior High School. She graduated from Lock Haven University with a Bachelors of Science, West Chester University with a Masters of Science, and Penn State University with a Principal’s Certificate. She has worked very hard to become who she is today.

Phillips has been a physical education teacher for 39.5 years, all in Fleetwood. She has 20 years in the high school and 19.5 years in the middle school. Mrs. Phillips became a gym teacher to make a positive difference in young people’s lives. She wanted to assist students in seeing and reaching their potential.

“I was full of fun ideas for teaching physical education, ultimately to instill the value of staying healthy and fit,” Phillips said.

Having the privilege of meeting so many fine students is her favorite part of the job.

“[I love] getting to know my students; everyone is so unique! [It’s great] watching students improve in their skills and witnessing them being proud of their accomplishments. I love the enthusiasm of middle school students and the autonomy of high school students. Also, working with dedicated and professional colleagues is a special part of the job,” Phillips said.

This special teacher has been a gym teacher since January of 1976. She enjoyed all of her teaching years with the Fleetwood Area School District.

After leaving Fleetwood, Phillips plans to stay active, travel, read new books, wear more dresses, and eventually move to North Carolina. Phillips’ goals are to just spend more quality time with her friends and family. She has three children: Julia, a scientist who lives in Portland, OR; Lea, a fashion account executive who lives in Long Island, NY; and Brian, a financial analyst who lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Savannah. Her children will now have more quality time with her.

“Mrs. Phillips was a great physical education teacher. I truly hope that she has fun after retirement with her family,” junior Hannah Sell said.

Phillips was well-known by all who had her as a gym teacher. Her retirement will make a huge difference in the middle school.

“All of my sisters have had Mrs. Phillips at one point or another; I was the last sister to have her. I am sure she will be missed by most of her students,” sophomore Megan Majewski said.

“I had a special bond with her that made my middle school years in gym class special,” junior Brittany Tyson said.

“Gym class was always an interesting experience while having Mrs. Phillips. It is upsetting that she will be leaving all of her students behind; however, it’ll be good for her to have the leisure time to herself and family,” Sell said.

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