After 29 years as an educator, Hogsett Elementary School Principal Rebecca Doolin will retire in September. However, she said retiring from Hogsett simply means she will always remain part of the school.
“I’m pretty confident that I’ll still be welcomed back as part of the Hogsett family even after I retire. We’re a very close staff,” Doolin said.
Admittedly, Doolin said it will be different to not see her co-workers every day as she has for the past 14 years.
“It is surreal. I’m excited about the next part of my life and what I’m going to be next,” she said. “It’s really sad, I’m going to miss the kids. This staff is my family; they mean so much to me.”
Doolin started her career in Lincoln County, where she taught everything from kindergarten to eighth grade in the 15 years there. She departed Crab Orchard Elementary School to transition to Hogsett as the principal and has been there ever since.
Some of her most entertaining memories have been the lengths to which she went to encourage students to learn. These include everything from kissing a pig to taking a pie in the face.
“We’ve done everything to motivate the kids to work harder and reach higher than they ever thought they could,” she said.
Incorporating these fun activities has positively impacted the children who have passed through the school, Doolin said, explaining that the staff has been able to “show them that learning is fun.”
“The one thing that I’m really proud of is that you can walk through our building and you can see happy children and see happy adults,” she said. “There’s laughter, and there’s joy. That is the kind of environment that I always wanted to create for my building, the type of atmosphere that you can come here and be safe and happy and enjoy learning.”
None of the learning would be possible without the joint effort of the teachers, staff and especially the families of the children they have had at Hogsett over the years.
“I’m just so thankful for the support that I’ve had here from our families. We must work together to get the children the best education that we can,” Doolin said, explaining that without that support, it would not have worked so well.
“Anything I need or the teachers need, all we have to do is talk with our families, and we are able to put our heads together and find a way to make it work,” she said.
That teamwork assures Doolin she is leaving the school in capable hands, no matter who the future principal will be.
“I feel very confident that they will embrace the new principal and support that new administrator just like they have me,” she said.
The support extends districtwide, as Doolin believes the Danville school system is in a “great place” at the moment and that will only get better.
“It’s going to be exciting watching the next 10 years and see the direction that the district goes in. It’s going to be better than ever.”
Doolin’s retirement becomes official in September, but Superintendent Carmen Coleman anticipates Doolin will be placed in another position in the fall to help her finish her tenure in the district without disrupting the students.
“Retirement timing can sometimes be odd. What we didn’t want was the Site-Based Decision Making Council to wait to hire a principal that wouldn’t be able to start until September. We wanted to decide what was right for the school and for Becky,” Coleman said.
Doolin echoed that sentiment, explaining she would like to help the new principal adjust to the school, mentoring whomever it may be.
“She so genuinely, truly cares about every single student and every single staff member,” Coleman said. “She has such a huge heart. It has really helped her to be successful.”
The school district has posted the position and is currently taking applications. Ideally, Coleman explained, the Hogsett school council will name a replacement before spring break; however, the “priority is getting the best person.”
“If not, they’ll keep moving along,” she said.