Vigil held at East Bladen High School in memory of school district administrator

Antonia Beatty
(Credit: Bladen County Schools)

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) —Friends, co-workers, and students are mourning the loss of a long-time Bladen County Schools employee.

Many tears were shed at the vigil held at East Bladen High School on Friday for Dr. Antonia Beatty, who died on Tuesday, May 10.

Beatty had been with Bladen County Schools since 1994 as a teacher at Booker T. Washington Primary School. During her time with the district, she served in many roles, including assistant principal at East Arcadia and West Bladen High Schools, principal at West Bladen High School, beginning teacher coordinator human resources director, and her final role as assistant superintendent of human resources.

She was a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Those who knew Beatty said her suicide was unexpected, and she will be greatly missed.

“Very classy, always had it together. She was an excellent educator, cared about students, cared about staff. She gave her life blood to Bladen County School system. She was an awesome person,” said Mary McLean-Smith, childhood friend.

“It’s a tremendous loss for this county, a tremendous loss. Integrity, ethical, professionalism, it’s a tremendous loss,” said Donell Goins, East Bladen High School counselor.

Prayers were said at the vigil, and those in attendance shared memories of Beatty.

“A lot of our staff worked with her. She taught them, or taught their children, that are grown now. So, it was mainly staff and colleagues, and former colleagues,” said Goins.

Prior to Beatty’s death, the day before on Monday at Board of Education meeting, the board did not approve the superintendent’s recommendation to renew her contract as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

A spokesperson from the district said they were unable to comment on personnel matters.

“In a time of grieving, while it’s often deeply personal for people, it’s also nice to be able to come together as a community and especially honor the life of someone who has had such a great impact,” said Elly Johnson, Bladen County Schools director of communications and family engagement.

A private funeral is being held for Beatty at noon on Sunday, May 15, at Peoples Funeral Chapel in Whiteville by Apostle Patrick McNair. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Sunday from 10:00 AM until time for the service.

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