Durman rises to leader of retired education personnel group

Published 7:00 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

When Eugene Durman Jr. retired from teaching, he knew what his next step was.

After nearly 30 years as a teacher, Durman immediately got involved with the Retired Education Personnel of Mississippi.

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He quickly rose to a leadership position serving as the president of the local chapter for four years and as the District 4 director for six years. In January, he stepped into his biggest role yet when he started a two-year term as the statewide president of the organization.

“It gets frustrating at times, but being a retiree and a retired educator you keep pushing and that is what keeps me going,” Durman said. “I love meeting people and going places. Some places I have seen in the state of Mississippi, I have never seen in my life.”

As president, Durman oversees the six districts in the state and helps organize the district meeting held annually in October. The retired personnel group is under the umbrella of PERS, the Public Education Retirement System, and works with the legislature to make sure the pensions for retired education personnel are protected.

“It is not just retired teachers. We call it retired personnel, which includes bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers,” he said. “I would like to encourage those who are not members of the local Vicksburg Warren County Personnel to join. It is very important that they join and be a part of the organization.”

Durman started his career as an industrial arts teacher in Vicksburg in 1971 and spent the majority of his career working in the Vicksburg Warren School District. He spent one year in Claiborne County before teaching at Hinds Community College from where he retired in 1999.

In his new role as president, Durman said he will likely travel more than 1,000 miles this year visiting the different units throughout the state and will be working to encourage all retired personnel to join the organization.

“My plans are to increase membership,” Durman said. “We are struggling with membership now, not because people won’t join, but because we are very senior. Some have been passing away and some can’t come and be active as others. Recruiting membership is the number one thing I hope to accomplish during my two-year term. It is going pretty well.

“I would love to see more people in my local unit join, because it is so important that they join and be a part of maintaining our public retirement system.”