Bella Pendleton, Jennifer Plymale, and Emily Wiggins
At the end of ten years leading the best high school in the nation, Dr. Brenda Mayo has rightfully earned her retirement. After earning the nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School award, Dr. Mayo will retire from a 38 year career in education at the end of the 2015-2016 school year: her legacy fully intact.
Throughout her time at Cosby, Dr. Mayo articulated and executed her vision for Cosby as the school to beat, and under her supervision, the community works together every day to meet high accreditation, academic, community, and athletic standards.
From the beginning, teachers understood Dr. Mayo’s vision for Cosby. ¨She tells you exactly what should be done, but she lets you figure out the means and methods by which you get it done. She gives you freedom and range to experiment in the classroom and to be able to try different styles and methods of teaching,¨ says Michael Stefanko, biology teacher and wrestling coach at Cosby. He believes, and many other teachers agree, that Dr. Mayo delegates well and runs the school in a very orderly manner.
Along with getting tasks done, Dr. Mayo knows who can do what and hires the people she can trust to work in this fast paced school. ¨She is very good at picking the right people to carry out the jobs that need to be done,¨ says Kelly Mutascio, math teacher and co-sponsor of the sophomore class. In any environment, it is essential to have hard working people. For Dr. Mayo, it makes her job that much easier, and it was her extensive background in education that taught her this lesson.
After graduating as valedictorian of her class from Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Va, Dr. Mayo began her first teaching job in Henrico County at Highland Spring High School as a history teacher. After transferring with her husband and three children to Texas for seven years, she and her family returned to Virginia where Dr. Mayo was offered a job in Chesterfield County.
In 1999, she was hired as the principal at Clover Hill High School where she spent seven years. Then, she wanted a new challenge, so Dr. Mayo became the planning principal of Cosby High School in 2005.
With many of her staff from Clover Hill transferring to Cosby, Dr. Mayo was excited for the new beginnings they would create together. Finding a common ground with all the students that came from different schools and backgrounds wasn’t easy, but she made sure that everyone felt like they had a place to express themselves.
Dr. Mayo will continue her career in education for the foreseeable future as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond.
As Dr. Mayo finishes the rest of this school year, we all wish her a great and a well-deserved retirement. Although those outside the front office don’t always see how much work is really put into running a school, Dr. Mayo has worked hard for Cosby to be the best it can be. The legacy she will leave at Cosby High School will live on forever, and everyone is extremely grateful for her hard work and success.