The Trimble County school district is sending two educators into retirement after spending more than a decade giving back to the community they grew up in.
Bedford Elementary Principal Shannon Stark is retiring after 29 years of serving the community she grew up in. She started as a teacher for the first 23 years and transitioned to principal for the last six.
Superintendent Jessica Wilcoxson is set to retire after 27 years. She started in Trimble schools in 1996 as a teacher, then was principal at the middle school, and then moved on to be superintendent.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Wilcoxson, explaining this is her home and community and she enjoys working there. While she will miss the students she is looking forward to enjoying a relaxing summer in retirement.
Stark has different intentions, which include spending time with her family and working a few different part-time jobs. “I don’t like a lot of idle time,” she noted.
Recalling her career in education, Wilcoxson said she is proud of several things that have happened during her time working at Trmble. When she started at Trimble County Schools she felt the relationship between the school and the community was fractured and wanted to mend that. She said she had a goal of bringing back a family feel and has been working toward that since she took over as superintendent.
“I feel like we have done a lot of great things,” referring to the team effort it takes with staff. Most recently, they’re in phase two of the Junior and senior high school students getting a new cafeteria that is original to the building.
“It was important for me to work toward a positive culture and a student-first approach,” said Stark. She feels they have made a lot of gains and one main advantage would be RTI (response to intervention). If a student falls behind on their MAPS scores they get RTI help. This can help track their goals and see if they can leave RTI after making enough progress every six weeks when they check on that student’s goals.
As for career highlights it all ties back to the community for Wilcoxson. “The ability to serve in the community where I live, where I grew up, went to school here, graduated from here … it brings a great sense of accomplishment,” she noted.
Stark offered the relationships she’s built with her students as her highlight such as when a student becomes an adult and then brings their own children back to the school district. “They’re bringing their best to you and trusting you with them,” Stark said.
“I think you would be hard pressed to go to another county anywhere else and find staff that care as much as ours does,” Stark added.
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