153 principal good-bye MT051817_web
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Principals given send-off by Homewood District 153

District 153 board members lavished praise on two retiring principals at the May 15 board meeting. Cece Coffey is retiring after 16 years as principal of Churchill School. Mary Ann Savage is retiring after 10 years as principal of Willow School. Board members lauded them for their many years of enthusiasm for and energy on behalf of Homewood students.

  Homewood District 153 school board members gave
  a send-off to retiring principals Mary Ann Savage of
  Willow School, front row, second from left, and Cece
  Coffey of Churchill School, front row, center.
  Celebrating their years of service were, front row
  from left, Ashanti Bethea, Shelly Marks and Deb
  Havighorst, and back row from left Superintendent
  Dale Mitchell and Gregory Lawrence, Jim Schmidt
  and Alex Bosch.
(Photo by Marilyn Thomas/H-F 
  Chronicle)
 

District 153 board members lavished praise on two retiring principals at the May 15 board meeting.

 
Cece Coffey is retiring after 16 years as principal of Churchill School. Mary Ann Savage is retiring after 10 years as principal of Willow School.
 
Board members lauded them for their many years of enthusiasm for and energy on behalf of Homewood students.
 
“You’ve left a legacy,” said board president Shelly Marks. “We’ll continue to be better for years and years because of the staff you hired, and the impact it’s made on our (school) buildings will be forever.”
 
Words of praise continued with board member Deb Havighorst pointing to Savage’s work in bringing full-day kindergarten to the district.
 
“You just did not miss a beat. Instituting full-day kindergarten went seamlessly,” she said.
 
Ashanti Bethea recalled being new to the district and going to Willow to meet the principal, even though at the time her oldest child was only 3 years old.
 
“I haven’t forgotten how you answered all our questions and gave us a tour of the building. I‘m so appreciative of all you’ve done,” she told Savage.
 
Superintendent Dale Mitchell recalled Savage telling him being at Willow “is my dream job” and he added the district administration has been delighted with her work, as well as Coffey’s.
 
Coffey told Mitchell “I found a partner when you hired Mary Ann” as Willow principal.
 
Mitchell said in any other district, some problems would have been insurmountable, but Coffey and Savage were able to find solutions. He said he sees them each impacting education in some way in the future.
 
“You both have a passion to be an educator,” he told them. The district has good people stepping in, “but you can’t replace that special touch.”
 
Board member Gregory Lawrence said accepting their retirements is “much more palatable because of the replacements we have.”
 
Assistant principals Nikki Kerr at Churchill and Melissa Lawson at Willow will be taking over and have been mentored by Coffey and Savage this past year.
 
Coffey told the Chronicle leaving Churchill will difficult.
 
“It will be heart-wrenching and gut-wrenching to walk out of this building on the last day,” she said. Yet, she knows “everything will be okay because to be able to leave it in the hands of someone who loves this building, who loves the teachers and our families and our community is the most gratifying thing.”

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