Castleberry Retires after 30 Years
Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Peggy Castleberry (right) reacts to a presentation made by CV Tech Campus Director Tracy Goyne (left) and Assistant Superintendent Bill Bradley.
May 23, 2017
CHICKASHA – Peggy Castleberry recalls a time several years ago when a student was suffering so badly from an abscessed tooth that his eye was nearly swollen shut.
The boy’s father was on disability from work, and momma was no longer in the home. There was no money to cover a dental visit.
Castleberry found a local dentist who would treat the student for free. Four teeth had to be extracted, and a bridge was put in place. Immediately, the young man felt better and continued with school.
The good ending doesn’t stop there.
The dentist and his associates at Grand Avenue Dental Center provided Christmas gifts and graduation gifts for the student. Truth is, the two were helping each other. One to be relived of pain and the other to be reminded how good it feels to help those in need.
Castleberry, 66, of Ninnekah, cites this as one of countless examples of how she was able to help students during 30 years on the job at Canadian Valley Technology Center, mostly as a special needs counselor.
A retirement celebration was held this past week in her honor.
Free time with three grandchildren is high on her priority list moving forward, she said.
She and husband, Kirk, grew up together and have been married 47 years. They raise pure-bred Charolais cattle and quarter horses. Though she plans to work with her husband in the family business, she wants to have plenty of time for other things.
“I told Kirk at Christmas that I was seriously thinking about retirement, but I told him then, ‘I ain’t working for you 24/7,’” she said. “I’ve answered to someone for 46 and a half years. I’m ready to answer to myself for a little bit.“
Castleberry said she has few regrets from a career that also included another 16 years as a social worker.
“Between my junior and senior years of high school, I dedicated my life to mission work,” she said. “After leaving DHS, I swore I would never do social work again.”
Turns out, much of the work she did at CV Tech mirrored the type of work she did prior to coming to the school.
On one of many carpools to Weatherford in pursuit of a Master’s degree, Castleberry said a friend suggested that she was fulfilling the calling she had previously committed to doing.
“She said to me, ‘Don’t you understand that God put you in that position to take care of kids?’” Castleberry said. “I can look back and see that I was placed here to help young people become successful individuals.”
Born and raised in Ninnekah, Castleberry never wandered far for work.
“I was born on north side of the Little Washita (River), got married and moved to south side of the Little Washita,” she said.
Castleberry did her undergraduate work at Oklahoma State University and at the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and completed her Master of Education at Southwestern Oklahoma State.
Both her son and daughter live in the area. Her son, Clint, works for the State Department of Corrections, and daughter, Lee Ann, works at Comanche Memorial Hospital.
“This journey has been a blessing,” Castleberry said. “This has been a great place to work. It has been family for me. What has been most rewarding is to see the kid that everybody else has given up on. They get booted from one place to another. They come here and become National Technical Honor society recipients or student ambassadors and productive citizens who get jobs.
“If you stand in the hall and watch kids come in the door and could see the emotional garbage they’re carrying, you wonder how they even get up in the morning and how can they can even be successful. Yet with the wonderful instructors, staff and administration here on campus, they become productive individuals.”
Castleberry reached hundreds of them in three decades of service.