Assistant Principal Linda Wanner will retire at the end of this year after 24 years at Blair to spend more time with family and pursue other interests, she said.
Wanner said that now seemed like the right time for her to retire, though it was a very hard decision for her to leave the school system. "My whole life has centered around school and children and helping them," she said. Though she will be retired, Wanner said that she does not want to leave education altogether and will hopefully be able to participate in school systems. "I hope to be able to come back and work in the city part-time," she said.
Wanner is not involved in the search for her replacement due to conflict of interest but said she suspects there will be more of a shift in jobs than a formal replacement for her position. Principal Darryl Williams said that an administrator position has been eliminated for next year and Wanner decided to retire, so the two events worked out well. He said that the entire administrative team will redistribute duties to compensate for the cut position, but no specifics will be finalized until the summer. "Ever year, we look at the responsibilities and duties," Williams said.
Wanner said she will miss many things about Blair, including the multitude of students with various backgrounds. "I love the diversity of the students. I think the students represent the world here," she said. She will also miss her colleagues immensely and the ability to help those who need it. "I will certainly miss the interaction with students," Wanner said. Williams, who met Wanner in 1996 at an assistant principal training, said she has not changed in her desire to focus on the students. "She is very student-oriented," he said. "I'm very appreciative of the types of support she's given."
On the other hand, Wanner will not miss rising early at 4:45 a.m. or having to coordinate exams. The High School Assessments (HSAs) and other standardized tests were the most difficult part of her job, she said, simply because they require so much extra effort. "These exams, the HSA, takes a tremendous amount of time," Wanner said. She regrets that this is time taken away from helping students and giving feedback to teachers in the classrooms. "I love to work one-on-one with students," she said.
Although Wanner said she would love for Blair to be modeled after some other schools with separate positions for organizing the HSAs, she does not know if it is possible in MCPS. Maryland, in contrast to other school systems, is split into large areas that comprise tens of high schools, and so cannot afford or manage a position singularly to coordinate testing. With so many positions for a single superintendent and a tight budget, there is simply not enough money to cover any extra positions, Wanner said.
In terms of writing, Wanner wants to write her memoir and perhaps publish an article about the HSAs. She said her memoir would be unique because she has worked in so many different classroom and school environments. Her workplaces have included a convent, schools in Prince George's County and classes in Paris. "I think I bring a certain perspective," she said.
Wanner said that she would like to travel with her husband, who is also retired. She plans to spend more time with her grandchildren before they begin elementary school. In addition to relaxing, Wanner said she would like to read and write after retiring. She said she has always envied the retired members of her book club. While she said she sometimes struggles to find the time for the one assigned book, others talk about the multiple books they have read recently. "I love to read," Wanner said and will enjoy having that extra time to catch up with her books.
Rebecca Guterman. Rebecca Guterman loves being on Silver Chips! In what little spare time she has left over, she loves to play the piano, dance really badly, and listen to music. Above all, seeing and talking to friends 24/7 is a must. Even though most of her ... More »