Recently retired Rocky Ridge Elementary School Principal
What led to your decision to retire, and why at the end of March?
I entered Alabama’s DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program) five years ago; the State determined the drop date. This retirement is the culmination of 30 years working as a professional in education. (Prior to her role as principal of Rocky Ridge Elementary, a position she held for the past 12 years, Carrington worked at Greystone Elementary in Hoover, as well as Pizitz Middle School, Vestavia Hills Elementary Central and Vestavia Hills Elementary West.)
Now that your retirement is here, how do you feel about it?
I have mixed emotions. When you have been preparing for something and actually being in the midst of this profession since you were 18 years old, it should be bittersweet — and for me, it is that indeed. This was a profession and career I have loved. I still love it and I will always love it. It has given me opportunities to impact student lives and to make a difference. My main goal has been to show our faculty and staff and children that I care about them and love them.
A secondary goal has been to impact curriculum and instruction. As a teacher, I had a different role than what I’ve focused on as principal. When you are in your classroom, your responsibility is to implement strategies that will positively influence a student’s academic performance. In the role of principal, you have to determine and understand approaches. You have to know how adults learn. I hope the leadership I’ve provided has positively influenced our curriculum, our instruction and the caliber of our teachers here.
What leadership legacy do you think you are leaving at Rocky Ridge Elementary?
Everyone can grow as a leader, whether it is in the classroom or outside the classroom. Everyone needs to voice his or her opinions. Everyone needs to have input. And everyone, once a decision has been made, needs to support that decision. That is the culture now at Rocky Ridge Elementary.
It was that way when I came, but in a way, it has grown, and teacher leadership has become one of this faculty’s mainstays. It has been very powerful for us from a professional development standpoint, and that has resulted in a very positive element for the entire culture of our school.
What will you miss the most?
The day-to-day interaction with students and faculty and staff — that’s what I will miss most of all. I have loved the fast pace of it all, the multi-tasking and the decision-making. How do you fill those voids in retirement?
I am not the type to stay down very long. I know I am ready for a new adventure, and this new adventure will include exercising — seriously! I’m looking forward to getting up and exercising with my husband. I am interested in taking a morning Bible study. I want to take golf lessons. I would like to go to culinary school! I would like to teach a college course. I would like to travel even more than I already do, and we travel a lot. In fact, we’ve already made plans with our good friends Donald and Ronne Hess to visit Israel as part of the Friendship Tour.
How have you liked Hoover City Schools? What sets our system apart?
The Hoover School System has been extremely encouraging and supportive of everything that has been attempted as far as instructional strategies, fundraising events, and in particular, encouraging the administration, faculty and staff to help our kids reach above and beyond their potential. Over the years, we have seen students all across the board, from middle schoolers all the way up to high schoolers, who have come back to visit us. These kids have gone on to win awards and enjoy very bright academic futures. They spent their elementary years here, and for that, they are proud.