Sharon Epple says she will miss the students at terribly, but she is excited to take on a new challenge in another district.
Yesterday was Epple's last day as Reed principal, and today is her first day as principal of a K-6 elementary school in East Hartford. until a permanent replacement is found.
A longtime educator and administrator, Epple served as principal at Reed for the last three years. Prior to that, she was a principal in Brookfield, Bridgewater/Roxbury and New Canaan. She also taught first and second grade for 11 years before becoming an administrator.
The 49-year-old Bethel resident is the mother of three grown children. Patch caught up with Epple in her last week on the job and got her to share some of her memories and thoughts on education in Newtown.
Patch: What do you consider your greatest achievement while serving as principal at Reed?
Epple: Budget times have been very challenging. Even so, we were able to add several positions over the years that really support student development and achievement: an additional literacy teacher, our first ever writing support teacher, an additional guidance counselor, additional time for our advanced math teacher, stipends for special education co-coordinators and additional time for our part-time art teacher.
Patch: What will you miss most?
Epple: I will miss the students terribly. Our fifth and sixth graders are very special and their social, emotional and academic growth in the two year span is amazing to witness.
Patch: What is your best/most cherished memory?
Epple: We work really hard to support all of our students and some need quite a bit. I cherish a hug I got at the end of the year this year from one of the students who especially struggled. I believe she knew that I was in her court. It makes all the hard work worth while!
Patch: What's your advice for the new principal?
Epple: I believe our focus on improving consistency and coherence throughout the school has been tremendous. Stay the course!
Patch: What is the greatest challenge facing the school/district?
Epple: Trying to restore our budget to levels that allow the schools to move forward.