For the past 15 years, Rochelle Thompson has been the principal at Smith Elementary School. This semester, however, will mark her last with the district.
Thompson started as the principal at Smith in 2005 and came to Delaware from Marion City Schools where she taught a variety of grades between fourth and eighth. Thompson said Tuesday she jumped at the opportunity to come to Delaware City Schools and has never looked back.
At the start of this semester, Thompson sent a letter to Smith parents announcing her intention to retire this year.
“It is with mixed emotion that I’ve made the decision to retire at the end of this school year,” Thompson wrote in the letter. “I am most appreciative of the support provided for more than a decade while at Smith School. During that time, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work side by side with remarkable students, families, staff, and community while serving as your building principal. You are an amazing group of individuals who have given your time, energy, and passion to our beloved Smith Elementary School.”
The Delaware City Schools Board of Education accepted Thompson’s resignation last week during its regular meeting. Thompson’s last day with the district will be June 30.
“My favorite part has been being part of the Delaware community and being able to work with the students and Smith families and staff,” Thompson said. “It’s been absolutely incredible.”
Thompson said it wasn’t easy to decide to retire, but she wanted to spend more time with her family and travel. She said the decision has changed how she sees her final semester at Smith.
“I have a greater sense of gratitude for the opportunity,” Thompson said. “I’m going to miss everything. The opportunity to see students every day and share stories with their families and work with amazing staff. I’ll miss being part of Delaware City Schools.”
Thompson said she hopes her legacy at the school is a positive one.
“(I hope it’s that) I am an advocate for all children and willing to work hard with those around me for the betterment of all children,” Thompson said.
Delaware Superintendent Heidi Kegley said Tuesday that Thompson’s legacy can be seen anytime someone visits Smith.
“We are all going to miss Rochelle immensely, but her legacy will continue through the Arts Integration Program she has established with the Smith School community,” Kegley said. “When you walk up to Smith and throughout the building, you are able to see all of the outstanding projects our students have created under Rochelle’s leadership. She has been a role model in building a professional community of staff who care deeply about their students and their school community.”
At the Jan. 27 board meeting, Kegley said the district is already working to find the next principal at Smith, and she hopes to have the search narrowed down to final candidates in March.
“It’s been an amazing journey to work side by side with remarkable students, families, staff and community,” Thompson said. “I have a sincere sense of gratitude for the time, energy, and passion that the community has given to Smith Elementary School.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.