Andrews to Retire From Centre School

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Longtime Principal Says She is Ready to Spread Her Wings

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, June 12, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Nancy Andrews, principal of Centre School in Hampton, retires this year after 42 years in education, the last 24 in Hampton.
[Deb Cram photo]

HAMPTON -- After serving 42 years as an educator, with the last 24 years in the Hampton school system, Nancy Andrews will be calling it quits at the end of the school year.

The Hampton School Board announced Tuesday that Andrews has decided to retire after serving 10 years as principal of Centre School.

"I think its time," said Andrews, who prior to joining Centre was the principal at Marston Elementary for 14 years. "Everyone said you have to do what is right for you. It just felt right at this time."

Andrews said the decision to retire this year was made easier because this is the last year that a medical subsidy is available for retirees who belong to New Hampshire Retirement System.

"My husband is also retiring this year," Andrews said. "I was originally going to let him retire ahead of me, but then thought, 'Do I really want to go to work when he's sitting at home?'

"I think I have worked long enough where I feel I have given my all to education," she said.

Andrews said her adult life has been dedicated to education working for school districts in New Jersey, Iowa, Maine and, finally, New Hampshire. However, her favorite place has been Hampton, she said.

"Hampton is such a great community and a big supporter of schools," Andrews said. "I truly feel blessed and honored with the trust people had in me."

When she started as principal at Marston there were 225 third- and fourth-graders and when she left to move to Centre there were 650.

"When the board asked me to go to Centre School, I was thrilled," Andrews recalled. "My masters is in early childhood development and I love working with pre-K to 2. It's my first love."

Over the years, Andrews has received many accolades, including some for spearheading the district's full-day kindergarten program, but the thing she is most proud about is not any award she may have won.

"I feel like I have given the children I worked with, whether it was as a teacher or as an administrator, a good launching pad," Andrews said.

"I also enjoyed working with young parents," she said. "It's kind of scary sending your kid off to school for the first time.

"I like to think parents felt confident that their kids were in a safe place where their gifts were nurtured and that we cared as much about them as they did," she said.

Andrews said she will miss working with the children and her fellow teachers who make Centre School, which she called a "gem."

"The best part of being principal is that no two days are the same," Andrews said. "The thing I disliked about being principal was that no two days are the same."

Andrews said one of her greatest pleasures in her career was hiring a teacher who she taught in kindergarten.

"I feel like I'm in a good place to move on and let another person with a different view and eyes to come in and give their gifts to the district," Andrews said.

Andrews said she doesn't know what she plans to do next, but said it will probably involve education.

In the meantime, she is going to concentrate on her hobbies, which include gardening and also showing off her dog at shows throughout New England.

This summer, she will be going to France with a couple of her girlfriends to paint.

"I feel like a butterfly with my wings curled up right now," Andrews said. "I'm going to France to paint and, hopefully, uncurl my wings so I can fly around and see what's out there."

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