County's retired educational group honors Phyllis McCleaf

May 16, 2012
  • From left, Phyllis McCleaf and Polly Martin, chairwoman of the Washington County Retired Educational Association awards committee.
Submitted photo

The Washington County Retired Educational Association has named Phyllis McCleaf the recipient of its annual leadership award.

McCleaf joined the organization in 2003 and has held various offices such as co-president and treasurer.

She grew up in rural West Virginia, attending schools in Pendleton County and graduating from Franklin High School and then from Shepherd College, where she was a member and an officer in Alpha Sigma Tau.     

In 1973, Phyllis received her Master of Science in library science from Shippensburg (Pa.) College.  She began her teaching career as a fourth-grade teacher at Sharpsburg Elementary and taught there for five years.

She went on to open the library in the newly renovated Fountaindale Elementary School, and divided time between Fountaindale and Woodland Way. 

In the spring of 1971, she taught second grade at Surrey Elementary. 

Fountain Rock Elementary School opened in the fall of 1971, and Phyllis became part of the staff as library media specialist. She retired from that position in 2003, serving 32 years at Fountain Rock, and a total of 38 years in Washington County.


After her retirement in 2003, she continued to give of her time volunteering with the kindergarten and first-grade classes, and has been a substitute teacher.

Phyllis became a member of First Christian Church — Disciples of Christ in Hagerstown on June 1, 1970.

Immediately, she became church librarian, a position that continues today and is perhaps her longest act of volunteerism.

She also volunteers with Friends of Washington County Free Library, the American Association of University Women used book sale, and the Alsatia Mummers Parade, where she is secretary.

In 2009 she was inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame at a banquet in Glen Burnie, Md.

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