Students say farewell to Saxton

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 23, 1999

On their last day of classes before winter break, students at Banfield Elementary School cried.

Thursday, December 23, 1999

On their last day of classes before winter break, students at Banfield Elementary School cried.

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Some of them, at least.

But so did teachers and support staff and others.

Brenda Saxton has that kind of effect on people.

It was Brenda Saxton Day Wednesday in the city of Austin.

Mayor Bonnie Rietz proclaimed the observance in honor of the popular and respected principal at Banfield School.

In ceremonies Wednesday afternoon before the school emptied for the holiday vacation, Saxton was honored.

Rietz called Saxton a "wonderful woman" and then explained to the students how one of the mayor’s jobs is to recognize the achievements of special citizens.

"When there is somebody who is very, very special, I proclaim it to be their day in Austin," she said.

The mayor asked the students: "Is there somebody special at your school?" The response was a chorus of "Mrs. Saxton" shouts.

Saxton is resigning from the principal’s position at Banfield Elementary School after a six-year stint in which she helped turn the school into the envy of everyone in the Austin Public Schools District.

With support from faculty and the cooperation of support staff, Saxton didn’t reinvent elementary education, but she fine-tuned it to the satisfaction of all.

Her husband Kevin has taken a new position in Colorado, necessitating the move for his wife and their two sons, Joshua, 14, and Kyle, 8.

During the year-ending holidays, she also will move with her sons to Colorado to join Kevin in house hunting.

The mayor’s proclamation acknowledged the degrees and certifications earned by Saxton and recognized her seven years of teaching experience and 10 years – the last six in Austin – as an administrator.

The mayor also read anonymous testimonials from faculty and friends who praised Saxton. One of them included the formula: Brenda Saxton plus Banfield equals success.

Ear-splitting cheers from the students erupted after each mention of her name.

When the proclamation was officially presented, Saxton joined the students to watch a slide show. With the music of the pop hit "I Will Remember You" playing in the background, the slides showed pictures of Saxton with students. Each time a new picture flashed on the screen, the students giggled aloud when they recognized themselves.

When the song ended, Christmas carols were sung before the principal’s final words.

Saxton was honored last week by faculty, support staff and other friends in a private farewell, so Wednesday’s ceremonies were the students’ turn to show their appreciation.

What kind of an impact did six years as principal of Banfield Elementary School have on Saxton?

"I’m going to miss them for a long, long time," she said before tears took over.