Lifetime of lessons: Couple retires after combined 69 years in education careers

FORTVILLE — Doug Peacock and Desa Duvick met at Indiana University, two students who dreamed of becoming teachers.

Their romance blossomed in Bloomington, and they married in 1981. Their passion for teaching took them from Indiana schools to Florida and back again. Now, after 31 years of teaching for Desa Peacock, and 38 years of coaching football and teaching for Doug Peacock, the pair will retire together from the Mt. Vernon school district at the end of the school year.

Desa Peacock has taught fourth grade at Fortville Elementary School for 21 years. For 23 years, her husband taught topics including health and weightlifting while coaching football for Mt. Vernon High School.

The Peacocks have supported each other through their careers as educators and now say they look forward to finding new ways to spend time together outside the classroom. With three children and two grandchildren, it shouldn’t be hard, they said.

“We’re looking to do everything together,” Doug Peacock said. “It’s not going to change just because we’re done teaching school. We were great friends through 36 years of marriage, and we’ve stayed that way.”

Both teachers have left their mark on the schools they taught in and will be missed once they retire, officials said.

Mt. Vernon High School principal Greg Roach has worked with Doug Peacock for 20 years. Peacock was the football coach when Roach was first hired as the district’s athletic director, and Roach oversaw his work with student athletes for the next decade.

Roach respected his way of encouraging students. He had high expectations but challenged students in a positive way to excel.

“He cares so much about the students and showing them how to be successful,” he said. “I’m going to miss Doug a lot, professionally and personally.”

Desa Peacock earned similar praise from her colleagues. She had a reputation for keeping her students engaged and on task without ever having to raise her voice.

She has led her fourth-grade classroom at Fortville Elementary School for the past two decades with a calm, inviting demeanor, said principal Heather Noesges.

In her tenure at the school, she has become a mentor teacher, meaning other teachers observe her classroom management for inspiration in how to create a reassuring, safe learning environment while teaching children at different skill levels all at once, Noesges said.

She loved teaching fourth-graders, Desa Peacock said; compared to the kindergarten classes she taught in Florida, fourth-graders have a longer attention span and most importantly, they understood her jokes.

Noesges said Desa Peacock is one of the best teachers she’s ever seen. In fact, Noesges’ young daughter decided after having Desa Peacock as a teacher that she wants to be an elementary school teacher just like her one day.

“She’s what we all strive to be,” Noesges said. “It’s sad news for Fortville, because she is such a great leader at our school, but I’m personally happy for her because she gets to enjoy her grandbabies.”

Doug Peacock plans to continue teaching once he retires, though he won’t be found in a traditional classroom. He has been hired on by First Financial Education Center in Greenfield, where he can continue to teach — on his schedule, he said.

His wife is looking forward to clearing her calendar, to waking each morning without a set schedule. Still, after so many years in the classroom, she knows her students won’t be far from her mind.

“I’ll miss it, definitely,” she said.

At a glance

2017 Retirees

Eastern Hancock School Corp.

  • Tamme Jenkins – Eastern Hancock Elementary School – secretary
  • Bill Alexander – bus driver

Greenfield Central Community School Corp.

  • Nancy Alldredge – G-CHS – secretary
  • Marian Anderson – G-CHS – teacher
  • Kathy Angle – Harris Elementary – teacher
  • Peggy Brown – G-CHS – teacher
  • Steve Bryant – G-CHS – principal
  • Linda Carder – Eden Elementary – instructional asst.
  • Patty Cooper – J.B. Stephens – custodian
  • Pete Fortune – Harris Elementary – teacher
  • Becky Hall – Eden Elementary – teacher
  • O’Dell McKee – bus driver
  • Laura Patrick – Maxwell Intermediate – custodian
  • Anne Strange – GCJH – teacher
  • Margie Thurston – G-CHS – custodian

Mt. Vernon Community School Corp.

  • Mike Horton – assistant superintendent
  • Diana Meyers – Eighth Grade Academy – teacher
  • Fran Overstreet – McCordsville Elementary School – teacher
  • Desa Peacock – Fortville Elementary School – teacher
  • Doug Peacock – Mt. Vernon High School – teacher
  • Mike Douglass – Mt. Vernon High School – custodian

Community School Corp. of Southern Hancock County

  • Mark Kern – Brandywine Elementary School – principal
  • Lynn Capehart – Brandywine Elementary School – speech pathologist
  • Caludia Jameson – New Palestine Elementary – sixth grade teacher
  • Gary Kumming – New Palestine High School – science teacher
  • Debby Robinson – New Palestine High School – secretary
  • Mary Anne Schwartz – bus driver
Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.