Bill Peacock’s name is synonymous with education in Jackson County and beyond. Peacock graduated from Campbellton High School in 1962. Because of his standout performance on the court, he was offered a scholarship to play basketball at Florida State University. He graduated from FSU in 1966 and immediately joined the teaching ranks of Jackson County.
He was hired at Marianna High School as a physical education teacher. He taught in that position and was the junior varsity basketball coach for four years before coach David McCool left MHS, giving way to Peacock to move to varsity basketball coach.
After a short time, Peacock realized that was not where his heart was and his principal Hodges Martin moved him to a driver’s education position. He remained there for fifteen years, learning the ropes from Tom Daniels. Peacock says that he learned from the best.
About his decision to run for superintendent of Jackson Count Schools, Peacock said he had several people approach and encourage him to run for superintendent of schools. Peacock said he wasn’t real sure since he had no administrative experience at that time but he gave it a shot and was elected. He served as superintendent from 1988-1992.
After he left the superintendent’s office, he returned to the classroom as a part of vocational education before moving to physical education at Sneads Elementary. He worked there for two years and had intentions of running for superintendent a second time. During the time he was deciding to run, his father was diagnosed with cancer. Peacock said with thirty years in the system, he was eligible to retire and did so to help his mother care for his dad.
About his decision to go into education, Peacock is very vivid about his choice, “My dad asked me what I wanted to do and I told him I wanted to teach. It was a great experience to see children develop over the course of time, to get stronger and become more outward. It was rewarding to see them changing the way they felt about themselves. I thought I was doing society a good thing when I taught driver’s ed and for years I’d see some of my students and they’d say, ‘Coach I haven’t had a wreck yet.’ Whether or not they had now, I don’t know.”
Peacock is especially proud of his time as superintendent, “The four years I spent as superintendent gave me an opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives and their education. I enjoyed those four years, the friendships and the people I met and the things we were able to do. I always wanted to make a difference. I really wanted to make education better for children every day and I think we did that. It was very rewarding.”
One of Peacock’s former students who wished to only to offer his appreciation of Peacock said, “That man was one way. You were drive the way the book said, you were going to stop at every stop sign and if you couldn’t do it the right way, you’d better learn to count to two really quick. There were also no abrupt stops, you put on brakes and then ‘let the air out of the balloon slowly’ and after a few screw-ups, I had it mastered. He related it to hammering a board, hitting it softly so as not to dent the area around the nail. I thought man this guy is off his rocker but dang if he wasn’t right on the money. Taught my daughter to drive using that same logic.”
Peacock was as true out of the classroom and administration as he was in it. He has been an active member of First Baptist Church, has helped with community needs throughout his time in Marianna. He and his wife, Gloria who passed away earlier this year, have participated in mission trips to different areas of the world in need of not only spiritual needs but help with everyday living.
Although Peacock retired twenty-plus years ago, he is as active as he ever was with all areas of education, but most especially sporting events. He’s watched children of friends, relatives, and just players who have sparked an interest from him on the football field, the baseball diamond, and the basketball court. He has especially enjoyed seeing his three grandsons play those sports and soccer. That was a new sport for Peacock but he cheered just as hard as he had for years in the other three.
Retirement also gives Peacock more time for another important part of his life – his cows! Not many days go by that you don’t see Peacock touring his fields on his Kubota ‘talking’ to his cows. Although he has downsized in recent years, he still sees after and converses with around 30 head of cattle. In years past, he has been a little busier with as many as 80 head.
Bill and Gloria Peacock celebrated their golden anniversary just two years ago and through their marriage they had three daughters, Stacy Schultz (Russ), Christy Lemmons (Mike), and Dana Torbett (Rex).
Stacy and Russ have two children, Dan Schultz and David Schultz. Christy and Mike have MacKenzie Clarke, Madison Davis, Carter Lemmons and Megan Lemmons. Dana and Rex have three boys, Austin, Riley and Caleb.
Bill Peacock is spending some of his time traveling during his retirement but he is still a fixture at sporting events where his grandsons are on the field or the diamond. He can be seen at First Baptist Church making sure all that needs to be done is done or at a friend’s house helping in whatever way he can. And in his little bit of spare times, watch for the smoke from his industrial sized smoker fixing for whatever event he is called upon to do so. Jackson County is truly blessed to have Bill Peacock in our community.