History teacher retires after 50 years

By Ruthann Carr

Jane Ford is retiring after 50 years of teaching; 46 of those in her home county of Fluvanna.   

Ford, born Snead, said she’s been fascinated by history for as long as she can remember. She was a history teacher for many years and lived and breathed her subject.   

The Snead family came to Fluvanna before 1777 when it was carved out of Albemarle County, Ford said.  

Her ancestors owned the land on which Fork Union Academy was built in 1898 and were instrumental in getting it started. She said her great-aunt graduated from the institution before it became an all-male military academy in 1913.  

Ford went to Fork Union elementary (now a community center) where her mother was a teacher and later became principal. She graduated from Fluvanna County High School in 1962.   

After earning her degree in secondary education from William and Mary in 1966, Ford started her teaching career in Hampton City schools.   

“I taught Virginia history and was told I had to teach a unit on Hampton, Ford said. “I learned everything I could about the city and wrote the curriculum myself. My first salary was $5,200.”   

She met her husband, William Ford Jr., while in Hampton. When they had their only son, William Snead Ford, they decided to return to Fluvanna.  

They settled in Fork Union and Ford began substitute teaching at Columbia and Fork Union elementary schools. “It was the easiest job I had but my passion was high school social studies,” Ford said.   

Soon there was an opening at the high school and Ford began her long career teaching social studies and history at Fluvanna County High School.   

While her son was young, Ford and her husband helped start Cub Scouts and Little League in Fork Union. The put a pool in their backyard and regularly entertained children from all walks of life, she said.   

Her son was at FUMA at the time and invited his classmates to join them. It was like the United Nations,” she said.  

During her career, Ford earned a master’s degree in psychotherapy and a secondary counseling certificate. She headed the National Beta Club, was in charge of awards assemblies and mentored many new teachers.   

Ford represented the schools on the county’s family assessment and planning team, facilitated adult education and started the distance learning virtual lab.   

Besides history, Ford’s strength is in classroom management, she said. “I teach it all, diplomatically and correctly,” she said. “I had a way with kids. I was non-judgmental.”  

Ford’s plan for the immediate future is to oversee the rebuilding of her family home lost in a fire in January.   

The couple will spend some time in their second home in Florida where their son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren live.  

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