Dorothy Clayton, a Kilgore ISD staff member since 1975, was honored at Monday’s school board meeting for 43 years of service to the district.
“I wish I had a count of all of the sporting events she has been to and driven to, all the field trips, all of the events she has supported our students in. Also, all the meals she has cooked for our bus drivers,” said Tamara Dean, Kilgore Primary principal.
Clayton was given the “I Believe In You” award, a special recognition of her decades of service, her devotion to Kilgore students and her beloved reputation.
Clayton worked in the KISD maintenance department office but also drove school buses for many years.
“She is one of the good ones around here,” Dean said. “She tries to come off like she’s quite the bear but she’s really not. She’s really got a big heart.”
Dean recalled her first experience with Clayton when she was still an assistant principal. Clayton asked Dean to talk to some rule-breaking students instead of suspending them so they could retain their bus-riding privileges.
“I knew then she had a huge heart,” Dean said.
Dean also related a story about the friendship between former KISD coach Amanda Farmer and Clayton. Clayton encouraged Farmer to sign up for the test to earn her bus driving certification and would guide her as she drove players to away games.
“This is what she said about you, Dorothy,” said Dean, reading from a note written by the former coach. “‘She is the meaning of Kilgore, devoted to every sport and person in the community, has the biggest heart and cares so much about each student and person. When you say ‘Dorothy’, everyone knows who she is.’”
Dean said the community’s love of Clayton was evident when Clayton became ill and was hospitalized several months ago. Many from the community visited Clayton in the hospital to bring her cards and flowers.
“We just wanted to recognize Dorothy Clayton tonight because I think she truly deserves it,” Dean said.
Clayton received a standing ovation from the board and the audience as she received her award, a star-shaped trophy.
“I want to thank y’all. I love all of y’all,” Clayton said.