May 25, 2020
Prince Librarian, Nancy Simpson, Retires After 28 Years of Service
By Amy Frierson
When visiting Prince Avenue Christian School, one of the central locations in the building is the school Media Center. If one were to step inside, it is not the boring, serious, and hushed place of solitude often associated with libraries. On the contrary, the Prince Media center is a bustle of activity.
Perhaps there is a lower school class searching for books or enjoying story time. Perhaps there are 5th-grade students reading aloud to their Kindergarten Reading Buddies. There might be high school students mentoring younger students in the Barnabas program. Or maybe there is a middle or high school student that has dropped by to seek encouragement or prayer because of a hard day. At the center of it all, is Prince Librarian Nancy Simpson who, after 28 years at Prince, has announced her retirement.
In a tight-knit community such as PACS, certain aspects of school culture become so engrained in the fabric of everyday happenings, it is easy to lose track of the origin of essential elements of the school. However, the retirement of a long-time faculty member such as Nancy Simpson allows for the remembrance of important milestones in the school, many of which can be attributed to Mrs. Simpson herself.
Mrs. Simpson is most known for establishing the school’s 21,000 book library. It is an understood fact that Mrs. Simpson is the “keeper of the gate” – personally reading each addition to the media center to ensure that all material is in keeping with the school’s standard of Christian education. Mrs. Simpson also hosts each lower school class in the library once a week – helping students select reading material and reading aloud to each class. She also teaches students about other forms of media and age-appropriate resources for different areas of interests and learning.
In 1992, Mrs. Simpson established the very popular Reading Buddy program in which 5th-grade students are paired with Kindergarten students throughout the school year. In keeping with the importance of mentoring, Mrs. Simpson was also instrumental in establishing the Barnabas Program and has functioned as the faculty sponsor since 2008. She selects capable high school mentors and pairs them with younger students who are in need of extra attention and encouragement.
Mrs. Simpson’s additional contributions include teaching English, editing the Prince newsletter, being the first female Parent Teacher Fellowship President, designing and executing the school’s first Open House, assisting with accreditation, keeping the gate at sporting events, and countless other tasks relevant to the needs of the school at the time.
Known as a prayer warrior, perhaps Nancy Simpson’s greatest contribution to Prince cannot be seen or measured. For many years, Mrs. Simpson faithfully shared the weekly faculty/staff prayer list and organized the prayer chain for the senior mission trip. It is not unusual for parents and students to receive hand-written notes from Mrs. Simpson letting them know of her prayers for their specific needs. It is also common to see Mrs. Simpson at her media center desk, head bowed, praying with specific students or teachers over personal needs.
Longtime co-worker Johnette Appleby speaks to the personal relationships Mrs. Simpson has had with others. “Nancy has a true heart for the students and staff at Prince. Countless times I have seen graduates come back and one of the few people they request to see is Mrs. Simpson. She is a mentor, prayer warrior, and friend. Nancy will be very hard to replace.”
Karla Wooten, PACS Media Center Assistant, agrees. “Nancy has poured into, prayed with, and encouraged faculty, staff, and students. I have witnessed students visiting her once they have moved on to middle and high school. They come back to share concerns, prayer requests, and accomplishments. She has built relationships with our students that have continued beyond graduation. I will miss working with Nancy. She is an encourager in all things.”
Mrs. Simpson has four children, all of whom graduated from PACS. In her retirement, she plans to spend time with family and assist in the care of her aging mother. Mrs. Simpson says that Prince has left her with a treasure-trove of precious memories. “I will truly miss working alongside such a wonderful group of believers as well as ministering to our students both large and small. I may be absent from the building, but I will forever continue to cover Prince daily in prayer.”