Dr. Brandt retires and says ‘Goodbye’ but not forever
MUNCY – Several suitcases packed upon a lonely bed, pictures are placed into a small bag, memories are locked into the heart, and nostalgia rests within the small tears hiding behind the joyful eyes. For the small community of Muncy bids farewell to one of its most beloved citizens, Dr. Portia Brandt.
On Friday, November 21, 2014, Dr. Brandt, Superintendent of Muncy School District, left for a lovely, carefree life near the whispering oceans of Myrtle Beach.
For thirteen and a half years, Dr. Brandt touched the hearts of many throughout Muncy – from elementary children to high school seniors, from applying college students to the most experienced teachers, each person contains at least one beautiful memory of Dr. Brandt. All one needed was just a few minutes with her, and she immediately found a place within your heart.
Dr. Portia Brandt’s work constantly revolved around education. From 1997 to 1999, Brandt worked in the Shikellamy school district as the principal of three elementary buildings and was the federal program coordinator.
She found her way to Muncy, and in December of 1999, she became the principal of Muncy Meyers Elementary School. She remained the principal of the elementary school for seven years, until July 1, 2008 when she became the superintendent and has remained in that position for six and a half years. Last Thursday she relived a few memories with her friends on her last day in the office before she left for her retirement vacation on Friday. Her official retirement date is on December 31, 2014.
Before Muncy, Brandt lived in Millville for a long time. Every once in a while, she would drive through the small community that resided between her hometown and the mall. However, it wasn’t until one of her friends told her about the administrative position in Muncy, and thought that Brandt would be good at it.
Brandt accepted the encouragement, and realized in full bliss that “everything fell into place.”
She was surprised at how much the people of Muncy taught her. “They taught me how to be a part of a community,” Brandt explains. “I was welcome, trusted, respected, and loved.” The majority of her family lives in Delaware, and in the beginning, “Pennsylvania was unfamiliar to me.” However, throughout the years, Muncy became her resident home, and the community became her family, and still will be according to Brandt. She said that she always felt safe here. She could easily walk the streets alone at night and would always feel comfortable. “I will miss that,” she said.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Brandt happily stated, although there were ups and downs during the years. She wisely explained that “the ups and downs have a way of making you stronger.” She always loved knowing the people and all of the kids and their families.
She loved the memories that Muncy shared with her. “I don’t have just one favorite memory,” Brandt admits. However, if she were to choose, they would be “memories of kids being successful and feeling like they belong and that they are safe.” No matter how many, Muncy gave Brandt very “strong memories” that will remain within her heart until the end of time.
Brandt’s retirement contains a few plans for the future. She bought a nice home right on the beautiful Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. She won’t be staying there long, however. Some of her plans involve flying back and forth between Myrtle Beach and Philadelphia, where the “love of her life” lives. She also plans to visit Muncy as much as she can.
“You betcha I’m coming back!” Brandt reassures, “I will make sure to come to as many luncheons as possible!”
Out of the twenty seven years of working, Dr. Portia Brandt spent a beautiful thirteen and a half years with Muncy. She touched the hearts of hundreds; she comforted them when they needed help; she listened to their mishaps and misfortunes; she cheered them when they succeeded; and she gave every graduating student a huge hug at every graduation commencement. She visited the homes of each kindergarten student who entered the district and welcomed them the very first day with a warm greeting. She learned everyone’s names and remembered the names of over 600 students.
She opened her heart to everyone, which gave the opportunity to let her into ours. No matter what memory we have of her, whether it was listening to her sing her version of the song, “YMCA” to get students ready for the PSSA tests, or whether it was seeing her bright, glimmering smile the second we walked through the school doors, or even if it was watching her eyes tear up as she softly read the small poem “Love That Dog”, the students, teachers, and community of Muncy will always miss her.
Although she is miles away, she will always remain within our hearts and memories; we will always cherish the days and moments we shared with our beloved member of our Muncy family.