Riley made impact on local students

Published 2:18 pm Monday, February 16, 2009

Do you remember Jane Riley? I do.

Melvin and Lois Hardwick lived in Leeds when their first daughter, Jane, was born. A few years later, they moved to Alabaster where daughters Jeannie and Jerrilynn entered the family.

For 54 years, the Hardwicks lived here.

He ran a tire business and she was a clerk, before becoming a post mistress. Both were believers in college education and wanted that for all their girls.

Their dream came true as Jane graduated from the University of Alabama, Jeannie from Troy University and Jerrilynn from UAB.

The first year after graduation, Jane taught at the old Columbiana Training School.

The very next year, integration in the school system began. That same year, Mary Roach left her teaching position at Thompson High and was named the new principal at Thompson Middle.

Roach taught Jane physics and chemistry when Jane was a high school student six years prior.

Jane began as a social studies teacher and, after several years, she became the part-time guidance counselor along with her teaching duties.

Eventually, she was guidance counselor (and a darn good one in my opinion).

That led to an assistant principal position and when Roach retired, Jane continued to be the assistant principal while Randy McDonald was the principal.

When he left, Jane applied for, and received, the principal job.

This served in that capacity until her retirement in 2000.

When my four children passed through those halls, Jane was always a compassionate mentor, good listener and fair to a fault.

All my kids had, and continue to have, great respect for Jane.

Jane has one daughter, Jessica, who is married and has one son, Hudson Douglas.

Jane spends alot of her time with Hudson these days, as she is blessed to live next door in Gardendale. Her son-in-law even encouraged Jane to move in next to them. What a son-in-law!

If you have been wondered where Mrs. Riley had gotten off to, now you know.

She left her mark on lots of youngsters in Alabaster and now she’s working one-on-one with Hudson.