Kay Rule could be considered an icon of Bulloch county education. Rule has taught at Mattie Lively Elementary School for parts of four decades: first from 1978-1982, and then from 1985 until the present.
Well, Rule has decided to finally retire, so Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Lewis Holloway selected Rule as his “unsung hero” in the school system.
According to Holloway, it is very unusual to find a teacher who has taught at the same school, any less at the same grade level for a quarter-century or more. In Rule’s case, her story is even more compelling, for most of her life she’s been a home town girl.
Not only has she been teaching there for all these years, but she also attended Mattie Lively as a student from the first through the third grades with her close friend Starr Anderson, who has been teaching at Sallie Zetterower for nearly the same length of time.
Although Rule was born in Screven County, her family moved to Statesboro after her father got a new job. After graduating from high school, Rule attended Georgia Southern College. She earned her Bachelors in Elementary Education and then her Masters in Early Childhood Education.
Her parents, C.S. and Patsy Kaney now live in Savannah, not far from her sister Colleen Smith. Kay and her husband architect John live in Statesboro. Daughters Candace Tillman Rogers and Haley Tillman and son John Thomas Rule are never far away.
Rule remembered that, “I interviewed with Mr. George Parker, who hired me to teach third grade at Mattie Lively. After I took some time off to run the North Side Pre-School with Bonnie Taylor, I was rehired in 1985 by Mr. Billy Bice to teach first grade at Mattie Lively.”
“I’ve been here ever since. The people here have become my second family.”
After a moment of reflection, Rule continued, “One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most has been working with my student teachers. I have always tried to do my best to make sure they understand what a wonderful career being a teacher really is.”
After spending most of her adult life teaching at Mattie Lively, Rule has finally decided to retire. She doesn’t intend to get bored, declaring, “The one thing I can guarantee you is that I’m not going to sitting at home watching soap operas.”
She said she looks forward to spending more time with her first grade Bible School class at First Baptist in Statesboro.
Rule smiled and said, “I am still young. I still want to work with the children, some way, some how.”