By: Pat WinterWhen you first meet Deb Phillips, she might seem a bit quiet and reserved. But don’t let that fool you. Underneath that peaceful composure is a powerhouse, a bundle of energy and talent with plans for the future.
Deb’s very favorite place to vacation has always been the Outer Banks, where she and her family vacationed nearly every summer for over 25 years. In 2002, when a fellow teacher from her eastern Pennsylvania school district asked her to come along to check out the Albemarle Plantation, only one hour from the beach, she was ready to go. So, that summer Deb joined Mary Ann Eichenlaub and two other colleagues for a weeklong exposure to the Albemarle Plantation lifestyle. This was the beginning of yearly visits to “this wonderful place” for Deb, and she is now the owner of a lovely home on the fifth fairway in the Oakland neighborhood.
Deb bought her home two years before her retirement and rented the house until she was ready to retire after 39½ years with the Fleetwood School District in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Here Deb wore many hats as she helped this growing rural school district expand from 84 to 218 graduating seniors. For 25 years Deb served as the Department Chair for grades K-12 for health and physical education in the district. The diversity of her teaching positions during her years with the district is impressive. Deb not only taught physical education, but also delivered instruction in health, psychology, and driver education (both in the classroom and behind the wheel). She also developed a virtual physical education program for those students who couldn’t fit physical education into their schedules. She believed in the teaching philosophy that her curriculum should change every year, with a new focus and challenge for her students. Deb agrees it was a “stimulating career.”
But that sums up only what Deb did during the school hours. Until she became a mother, Deb coached field hockey, girls’ basketball, softball, track and field, and volleyball. Field hockey was Deb’s passion, however, and after relinquishing her coaching responsibilities, she continued to keep a hand in field hockey by officiating for 27 years at the Collegiate and Interscholastic levels. In 2013, the Berks County Interscholastic Athletic Association honored Deb with the Gold Leaf Membership Award for those individuals that have spent countless hours touching the lives of Berks County’s student athletes.
Deb’s children, two daughters and a son, continue to be a very big part of her life. When they were children, Deb used her summer vacation time to explore 43 states with them and instill the idea that if they wanted a career of their choosing, they would have to work hard and be willing to move away from the small town of Fleetwood. Today, daughter Julia is a research associate at the Oregon Health and Science University and Casey Eye Institute in Vancouver, Washington. Daughter Lea is a product-development manager at Bedgear Performance Bedding in Farmington, New York, and her son Brian is a portfolio manager at the State Board of Administration of Florida in Tallahassee.
Here at the Plantation, you might meet Deb at the pool, where you will find her on most summer days expertly swimming laps. She has also been spending some time reviving her golf game and enjoys working out at our community center’s gym. A book club, barre classes, shag dancing, and the AP Women’s Club are just a few other items on Deb’s busy calendar. Deb’s hands-on approach to life now serves her well as she is busy painting and refreshing her new home and yard. Travel is also on her agenda, but her biggest goal for the immediate future is spending time with Cally, her first grandchild who lives on Long Island. “I couldn’t be happier,” Deb reports.
And we are so happy to have Deb here with us. Welcome, Deb!