Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our Newly Retired Principal Leaves Parting Words

In February, our principal unexpectedly went on leave and then retired from her post, where she has been for the past 14 years. She began working at our middle school when it was still a junior high and has seen countless changes, updates, and improvements since that time. Check out her farewell interview below:

Newly Retired Principal Carole LeVine Reflects On 14 Years At Ridgeview Middle

LeVine unexpectedly retired in February and Montgomery County Public Schools has begun a search for her replacement.

Ridgeview Middle School's newly retired Principal, Dr. Carole LeVine, was a driving force behind the current construction updates at Ridgeview, as well as many transitions over her 14 years as principal. Her unexpected departurefrom the school was a surprise to the school community and she will be missed by many. Patch recently corresponded with Dr. LeVine via email about her career at Ridgeview.
Patch: You began at Ridgeview as a new Principal in 1997. What was your previous position before you became the principal at Ridgeview?
Dr. LeVine: Before being appointed as the principal of Ridgeview Middle School, I served as Assistant Principal at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring for four years.
Patch: What do you consider to be the most important achievements of your tenure at Ridgeview?
Dr. LeVine: As an educator I have always thought of achievements in terms of the students and the school community. When I began [as principal here], Ridgeview was an intermediate school and the last mid level school to move to the middle school model. I'm very proud of our work during those early years of change and transition. We established teaming, grade level wings, and did a great deal of outreach to the community to establish trust in the middle school philosophy. I'm proud that co-curricular collaboration, teaming, home/school partnership and the focus on children and learning evolved as core tenets of the school culture.

I am also proud of every teacher and staff member who has been part of our staff over the years. The goal has always been to find excellent teachers and staff who care about kids,  are skilled in their field, and are willing to doing whatever was needed for the school. As a school community we celebrated many successes and weathered challenges together. We helped the students, families and each other through the events of September 11, the sniper attacks and the blizzard. We raised funds on behalf of charities and local families in need. Ridgeview teachers, staff and students have received local and county recognition and the academic achievement of our students has continued to increase. I am proud of the school/community partnership, our outreach to the Hispanic community and celebrations such as the Heritage Cafe.
Patch: What changes, both positive and challenging, have you seen in the student population over your years at the school?
Dr. LeVine: While there have been changes in the student population over the years much has remained the same. Students enter the sixth grade as children. They are unsure, trying out different identities and styles, and grappling with establishing friendships and social groups. They are awkward, self-conscious, funny, and will do whatever is asked of them if they know you care. By the time they leave eighth grade these students are nearly unrecognizable. For most, there have been dramatic physical changes, and they are self-assured, and poised for success in high school.
The changes I have seen in the student population have paralleled the changes in our culture and society over the years. As the stress on families has increased, children often feel that stress and bring it with them into the school environment. Technology and the media have opened vast possibilities for children, increasing communication and learning but bringing implications for student safety and well being. The social role models for 10 to 14-year-olds have also changed dramatically and impacted students in how they dress, speak and act.
Patch: Parents noted your "hands-on" style and were very surprised with your sudden leave and subsequent retirement. What details would you like them to know about your current situation?
Dr. LeVine: I have appreciated the notes and messages from the community. In the letter announcing my retirement I shared that I was retiring due to family and personal health issues. It was a very hard decision. Over the past month my mother's health has stabilized and my own health is improving. In time, I hope to be able to continue working and using my skills to benefit children and education.
Patch: What would be your suggestions of important characteristics that the county should look for in hiring your successor?
Dr. LeVine: When a new principal is selected it is a collaborative process between MCPS and the families and staff of that community. The school community has had the opportunity to express the priorities that are most important to them. I trust in the collective wisdom of the parents, teachers, and members of the staff in describing these characteristics. They are all committed to the school and to the education and well being of the children.
Patch: Do you have one memorable moment to share from the past few years at Ridgeview?
Dr. LeVine: During my tenure as principal our school community has focused on securing improvements for the school facility. With an HVAC system that functions poorly and a design that made navigating the building a challenge, families and staff members have worked long hours over many years for change. It has been exciting to finally begin construction and watch the work get underway. With the ramp gone and the new front office bump out nearly complete I am thrilled that the improvements are finally underway.
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