CAMP¿DICK — At the end of this academic year, Camp Dick Robinson Elementary School will lose a very familiar face when its principal retires.
Janet Overstreet, 55, recently announced that she will retire at the end of this school year. Overstreet has not only served as Camp Dick Elementary principal for 21 years, but also was a member of the first classes of African-American students to attend the school after it was integrated in the 1970s. She graduated from Garrard County High School in 1976.
After graduating from Centre College in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Overstreet began teaching at Lancaster Elementary School. She completed a master’s degree in educational counseling and Rank I in educational administration from the University of Kentucky.
In 1992, she was hired as principal of Camp Dick Elementary and became the first black administrator since the integration of Garrard County schools.
One of the biggest changes Overstreet has handled during her tenure regards economic constraints in school budgets.
“These days, we have to do a lot more with even less money,” she said. “Unfortunately, that means teachers spend less one-on-one quality time with the children.”
Overstreet said other major changes to which she and other veteran educators have had to adjust is the technological advancement of society.
“Students come in here not knowing nursery rhymes any more because parents don’t really focus on teaching those the way they used to,” Overstreet said. “But the kids do know plenty about how to operate the latest gadgets which has turned out to be a big advantage as we prepare them for their future.”
Though she does not leave her position until May, she announced her retirement at the beginning of the school year to allow students, staff members, and parents time to acclimate to the change.
“Because I’ve been here so long, I felt it was right to let people know with as much advance notice as possible,” Overstreet said.
Her retirement was not an easy decision, but she prayed and felt that it was the right time to move on to another part of her life. Overstreet, the adopted daughter of Arthur and Mary Dunn, was raised on a farm on Boone’s Creek. Now that her parents are in their 90s, she wants to spend more time helping them. Overstreet hopes to complete a cookbook as well as do some volunteer work, especially with animals or children.
“Also, I don’t want to wear my welcome out at the school,” Overstreet said. “Things are good here right now. We’ve made a lot of changes and I think it’s a good time for a younger person to come in and take the reins.”
Garrard Superintendent Donald Aldridge, the fifth and final administrator under whom Overstreet has worked, said the news of her retirement was surprising.
“She’s always been an advocate for kids and will be missed,” Aldridge said. “I’ve seen first-hand how well she communicates with the students. She always has their needs in mind.”