Stratford bids farewell to teachers, staff

Waters, Dromsky, Nicodemo, McLain, Merten, Jaquith and Belle all leaving, along with librarian Wansley, Chef Josh and maintenance superintendent Flanders

Ms. Jackie Waters  

If the word “frisky” is said at Stratford, there’s about a 99 percent chance the person is talking about Mrs. Jackie Waters.

Ms. Waters is a high school physiology and biology teacher known for her frisky personality and her love of plants. She is known to make her classes fun with coloring and case studies. After 14 years of teaching at Stratford, she is retiring.

During her retirement, she is planning to de-stress and take it easy.

“I’m going to look after my family, and garden, and travel, and have some time for myself,” she said.

One exciting trip she has coming up is a vacation to France with her friends in September.

“We’re going to travel around in the south of France and to the coast to see the Mediterranean Sea,” Ms. Waters said.

The thing she is looking forward to most is “not having to grade papers any more.”

Even though Ms. Waters is looking forward to retirement, she will miss being at Stratford. The thing she said that she will miss most are her students. Her favorite memory at Stratford is “seeing the kids get excited about dissecting the cats and fetal pigs every year.”

Mr. Ben McLain

After six years of teaching Spanish,, Mr. Ben McLain will be leaving to start Spanish program at a middle school in Thomas County Middle School in Thomasville, Ga.

“I will be building a Spanish Program for middle schooler,” he said. “It will be an exploratory class like an elective where middle schoolers have the option to take Spanish or not, and then it will become a mandatory class.”

Mr. McLain has taught several Spanish levels at Stratford.

“My first year I taught AP Spanish 4, and then I switched with Mr. Parkhurst, who was teaching the lower levels because he said he felt comfortable teaching an upper level,” Mr. McLain said. ” But he did not come back the following year, so the next guy that came in taught the upper level while I taught Spanish 2 and 3 for a couple of years. Now, I am teaching Spanish 1,2, and 3.”

Mr. McLain has been apart of several clubs. He sponsored SOAR, Spanish Club, and Paintball Club. He has helped Key Club with a couple of events.

Mr. McLain said he will miss his students, who are his favorite part about teaching.

Dr. Ann Dromsky 

In her two years at Stratford, Dr. Ann Dromsky has made a great impact on many students. From attending athletic events to hosting whatever student who needed a place to hang out in her room, Dr. Dromsky is a popular teacher.

When Dr. Dromsky first moved to Houston County three years ago,  many schools were an option for both her and her daughter, Carolynn, who is a member of the Class of 2018. However, she said that the atmosphere she saw when they toured Stratford helped them make their decision.

Dr. Dromsky will be moving to Texas to continue teaching. Stratford students will miss her always smiling face and, of course, the candy drawer.

While she loved teaching some of her favorite memories were actually outside of the classroom. She enjoys seeing her students at sporting events and dances where she can see them in an atmosphere that isn’t all about turning in papers.”

She loves her students as if they were her own sons and daughters. When asked about her favorite class, she said that would be like having to choose a favorite child.

Mrs. Lisa Merten  

After a year  at Stratford, Mrs. Lisa Merten will be leaving us.

Mrs. Merten was a substitute teacher for Stratford for a year. She she loved the school so much  she became a Spanish teacher.

But she now has decided it is time to go home to  Colorado Springs, Colo. Her husband, Jeff, is pursuing a business job so they will be moving back to be with their family.

Mrs. Merten will miss the people at Stratford, she absolutely loves the students and staff. She is very said that she will not get to see her freshmen go through high school but she knows it is time to go home.

Mrs. Lindsey Belle 

Freshman English teacher Mrs. Lindsey Belle joined the  Stratford faculty this year. She also serves as the girls’ lacrosse coach. She moved to Macon from Virginia Beach almost two years ago and will be relocating back there after this year to be closer to family.

Her husband grew up in the area and they both went to school there. So, they have a lot of friends and family in the area.

Moving here has “been a really good experience.” They have loved Macon, and she has really enjoyed teaching at Stratford.

She will miss both coaching and her students.  She has made a lot of “really good relationships” with the freshmen she teaches.

Mr. Phil Nicodemo  

Mr. Phil Nicodemo has been the freshmen Biology and Vertebrae Evolution teacher at Stratford since 2016, but now has been given the opportunity of another job in Florida.

Mr. Nicodemo has been known for “doing it to em,” owning two snakes, and just being an overall great teacher and person.

He accepted a job this spring as a biology teacher at a school in Fort Myers, Fla., where he is, “excited about getting to know new students and people and have a fresh start.” He said he is “going to miss the students here the most,” and hopes to organize a trip next summer to the Everglades, which students here will be welcomed to participate.

He looks forward to, “a warmer climate with more diverse nature, and joining a “ real” karate dojo in Fort Myers.” 

Overall he is “sad to leave the students here,” but looks forward to his new job in Fort Myers. He is glad that the students are happy for him to have this new opportunity.

Mrs. Jessica Jaquith 

Mrs. Jaquith has been a beloved teacher at Stratford Academy for the last two years. She is sad to be leaving Macon.

The Jaquiths are headed to the Kennesaw/Acworth area, but her and her family are happy to be closer to her husband’s job.

One of her avorite memories was watching the boys win the state tennis title last year. She said she will miss  her students and colleagues, working at the same school as her children  and,Chef Josh’s lunches.


Ms. Kaye Wansley

Librarian Ms. Kaye Wansley has been working at Stratford for forty years. That is enough time for a toddler to finish high school, college, get a doctorate, and start a family.

During her time here, she has been a substitute teacher, a librarian, and been involved with after-school day care and the kindergarten.  

When she first started working at Stratford, she did not think she would enjoy being a librarian. Now, it does not matter if it is a picture book made for a Preschooler or an adult novel because she loves all books.

She will miss the children the most, though.

“I love my students. I love seeing them and all the funny things they have to say. Each one of them is so unique and special,” Ms. Wansley said.

She hopes they remember her as fun and loving. She always wants them to become the best possible person they can be and live up to their full potential in academics and character.

After retirement, she wants to visit family, read, and practice doing art. She also plans to continue her work as a wildlife rehabilitator by visiting schools and hospitals and teaching people to respect animals.  

Mr. Wayne Flanders and Chef Josh Roberts

Also leaving Stratford are Chef Josh Roberts and Mr. Wayne Flanders, the Director of Facility Maintenance. 

Mr. Flanders is retiring, and Chef Josh will be moving to Nashville, Tenn., to work in the restaurant business.