Grandchildren, gardening and travels will be at the top of Maudean Sanders "to-do" list following her retirement from East Central Community College on April 30, 2014.

Sanders has served as Dean of Institutional Effectiveness since July 2006. She previously served as Assistant Dean of Career-Technical Education and began her employment as Tech Prep Coordinator in 1993. In addition, she has taught adjunct classes in Early Childhood Education since 2001.

"I plan to spend more time with my family," she said when asked about retirement plans. "I have five grandchildren playing summer sports. My oldest grandson is on a traveling baseball team, Legends, out of Jackson and I plan to travel with the family to the games."

Sanders youngest son, Zachary (ECCC Class of 1997), is the assistant softball coach at Neshoba Central High School and she plans to attend his games as well.

"He still likes his mother to attend his events, whether he is playing or coach," she added.

Gardening is the activity she shares with oldest son Reid.

"I plan to have a garden. I love to be outside...Reid (ECCC Class of 1993) is a great gardener. He plants and keeps all the grass out and I pick and put the vegetables in the freezer or can them. Green beans cannot be frozen!" she noted.

The "land down under" begins her travels as she has already picked Australia as her first destination in August.

When reflecting upon her upcoming retirement, Sanders said among her first thoughts was "Where did all the years go?"

In addition to her 21 years at East Central, Sanders spent 10 years with the Choctaw Tribal Schools as a teacher and staff development/accreditation coordinator. She began her career with the Neshoba County School System, where she taught elementary and middle school for four years.

"I'll miss my friends, but I won't have to get up at 6 a.m. to come to work! However, I wonder if I will, financially, be able to do all the things I want to do!"

Although she is stepping away after 35 years, Sanders said she never considered another career path.

"I love education, and I love teaching," she said. "I never thought I would be anything else."

Perhaps her love of education came from those teachers whom she said influenced her most.

"Some of the special people who influenced my life were Maxine Dunn, my first and second grade teacher at Arlington; Leland Harrison, my high school principal at Neshoba Central; Carrie Ann Alford, my high school English teacher also at Neshoba Central; Prentice Copeland, former Neshoba County Superintendent of Education; and Ruth Hull, one of my instructors at East Central Junior College; and John Adcock, former Director of Career-Technical Education at East Central."

As with many retiring educators who look back over a long career, Sanders said her greatest enjoyment has come from the people.

"The greatest joys of my career have been the students and the people I have had the privilege to work with," Sanders said.

In addition to her sons, Sanders family includes her husband, Tommy M. Sanders, who she met at ECJC in 1969; daughter-in-law, Windee Sanders; and grandchildren, Sarah, Clay, Blake, Sam and Sadee.