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Virginia Edwards Maynor

Educator Virginia Edwards Maynor was born on April 1, 1945 in Savannah, Georgia to Freddie Mae Jones-Williams and John Roger Williams. She graduated from Alfred Ely Beach High School in 1963. Maynor earned her B.S. degree from Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia in 1968, her M.Ed. degree in history from Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia in 1974, and her Ed.S. degree from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 1982. She also earned a leadership certificate from Harvard University’s Leadership Institute in 1985.

Maynor began her career in education as a third grade teacher in the Horry County School system. From 1969 to 1970, she taught in the Ridgeland South Carolina Public School system. Maynor then joined the Savannah-Chatham County Public School system as a teacher in 1970. She was promoted to the positions of assistant principal, principal, executive director of secondary schools, and deputy superintendent of instruction. In 1998, Maynor became the superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, where she remained until 2001. She was the school district’s first African American female superintendent. Maynor also represented the First Congressional District on the Georgia State Board of Education.

Maynor received the Outstanding Leadership Award from Savannah State University, the Omega Citizen of the Year Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity’s Mu Phi Chapter, the Outstanding Educator Award from the Georgia Retired Educators Association, the Citizen of the Year Award from the Mutual Benevolent Society, Inc., an Award of Appreciation from Myers Middle School P.T.A., the Spirit of Education Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha, and the Civil Rights Museum Award from the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.

Maynor was a member of the Chatham Retired Educators Association, BAPS, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also served as president of the Savannah Chapter of The Links, Inc. from 1995 to 2015, as fund development chair of Greenbriar Children’s Center, Inc. from 2000 to 2012, on the Board of Directors for the Telfair Museum from 2009 to 2011, and on the Board of Directors for Hospice Savannah from 2008 to 2011.

Virginia Edwards Maynor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 10, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.050

Sex

Female

Interview Date

02/10/2017

Last Name

Maynor

Maker Category
Middle Name

Edwards

Occupation
Schools

George W. DeRenne Middle School

Alfred Ely Beach High School

Savannah State University

Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus

Georgia Southern University

Harvard University

First Name

Virginia

Birth City, State, Country

Savannah

HM ID

MAY08

Favorite Season

Late Summer and Early Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

4/1/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweets

Short Description

Educator Virginia Edwards Maynor (1945 - ) served in various positions in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School system for over thirty years. She was the school district’s first African American female superintendent, from 1998 to her retirement in 2001.

Employment

Horry County Schools

Ridgeland South Carolina Public School System

Savannah -Chatham County Public Schools

Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools

Favorite Color

Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Virginia Edwards Maynor's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Virginia Edwards Maynor lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Virginia Edwards Maynor lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers the Cann Park neighborhood of Savannah, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers the Cann Park neighborhood of Savannah, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about her extracurricular activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls her influential teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers her early love of reading

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her family's Christmas traditions

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls the entertainment of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls her experiences at Cuyler Junior High School in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers her aspiration to become a psychologist

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers joining the Presbyterian church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her involvement at the Butler Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls the construction of a middle school annex at Alfred E. Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers her social activities at Alfred E. Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers her prom

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls going to the movies at the Star Theatre in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers attending high school football games in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls her decision to attend Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers registering to vote

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about the civil rights leadership in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about her experiences of hiring discrimination in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls her start as a teacher in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her experiences at Armstrong State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls her promotion to curriculum specialist

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers divorcing her first husband

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers filing a discrimination complaint against the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her transition from teaching to administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her involvement with the Greenbriar Children's Center in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about her civic activities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her involvement with The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about her book club

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes the MOLES organization

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about her promotion to interim superintendent of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Virginia Edwards Maynor recalls her challenges from the board of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers her accomplishments in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about her role as a mentor

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her mentorship of young educators

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Virginia Edwards Maynor talks about her second marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Virginia Edwards Maynor describes her travels

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Virginia Edwards Maynor reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Virginia Edwards Maynor reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Virginia Edwards Maynor shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Virginia Edwards Maynor narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

5$8

DATitle
Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers joining the Presbyterian church
Virginia Edwards Maynor remembers her accomplishments in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
Transcript
Were you in- involved in church? What church did you attend?$$Butler Presbyterian Church [Butler Memorial Presbyterian Church, Savannah, Georgia] and what's interesting about that is, my family for years were Methodist, A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal], when they were on the Eastside. When they moved to the Westside, it changed. My family decided to become Catholic. I didn't want to be a Catholic, and I started attending Butler Presbyterian Church, which was in our neighborhood [Cann Park, Savannah, Georgia], actually, with some of my friends at school, Sunday school, and church was a church that welcomed young people and had quite a number of activities for young people, and I enjoyed the spiritual climate in the church. So I asked my mother [Freddie Mae Jones Williams] if I could become a Presbyterian, and they agreed that I could. So I became Presbyterian while they converted to Catholicism.$$And what were some of the activities that you were involved in at your church?$$Bible school, summer camp. I was chosen by our church to be one of the representatives to go to a summer retreat (clears throat) for--it was an interracial group. And in fact, it was not far from my mother's hometown, in--outside of Burke County [Georgia], Boggs Academy [Keysville, Georgia] (clears throat), excuse me, and that was the first experience I had in terms of any interracial interaction with the young people, and the white kids came to us from Indiana, and the interesting thing was, and this was another incident that stayed with me, was in Louisville, Georgia, was a slave market where slaves were tr- traded and the group, they planned a field trip and when we gathered for the field trip, outside of Boggs Academy we could not ride together. All the white kids had to be in one car and the black kids had to be in another car and, of course, we got to be friends, and we couldn't understand, well, why we can't ride together. You know, kids can't ride together, and they said we would be arrested. So, you know, those were hard things to fathom without developing (clears throat) some feelings of hate, you know, and that's where our parents came in to help us understand that you don't get anything accomplished by hating. You learn to think and plan and, so, you know.$Let's talk about as--let's just step back a little bit and because you're first deputy superintendent [of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System] and I want you to talk about what it was that you accomplished in that position, if you might?$$One of the things I accomplished was im- implementing a reading warranty that guaranteed that the students would be reading by third grade. Some of that was happening at the time I became superintendent but it was dismissed, you know, because that--it was a political thing, you know, so the other is, I think, that principals felt supported and that I was a superintendent that was for the best benefit of the schools and as a deputy superintendent I worked to accomplish that. I also worked to train school leaders. We had an in- internal school leadership program. In fact I have a little plaque in there that some of the graduates, when they finished, remembered a lecture that I gave and they summarized it about tips on being a leader. I think my greatest contribution as a leader was being, setting a good example for what leadership was all about because programs come and go and they can be very political and the impact this made is actually in the schools with the principals and with the students and I think that the reading warranty was one of the things that we im- that was impacted and also I--we implemented the, what's it, the early childhood education program where we had family advocates for children in the kindergarten program. We--that was implemented. It was successful, too, because it helped to guaranty that kids would be ready to start school, first grade. Let me see. I think those would be two of the things that I would point to.$$Okay. So even though you've had a challenging term as superintendent, what are you most proud of as superintendent?$$I would say I'm most proud of the fact that I did not lose my dignity nor did I compromise my principles while I tried to do--and I won't say try, why I did the best for the schools in the school district and the children. There were gains made, there were accomplishments and I think I, not think, I walked away feeling that there were lessons learned and as--one of the things that stood out was when I was, I took the oath. The headline in the paper was "Dream the Impossible Dream" and I think that that was an impossible dream (laughter), a dream that I didn't think was possible and to walk away with, one, no money mismanaged, no scandals, the only thing that could be said is that there were some that just did not get along with Virginia Edwardss [HistoryMaker Virginia Edwardss Maynor] at the time and to me that--the most important thing was to leave that--a position as contentious as being a superin- and as political as being a superintendent. When you can walk out the door with your dignity intact, that's an accomplishment as far as I'm concerned because you have to live beyond that.