After years of hard work and dedication - 37 to be exact - one local educator says it’s time to take a permanent vacation.
Susan McCarty, principal of Glen Rose Intermediate School and nearly four-decade servant to Texas public schools, has announced she will enter retirement at the end of the school year.
The school administrator officially submitted a letter in early April notifying the Glen Rose ISD that she intends to retire, ending her 28-year career with the local school district.
Coming from a family full of educators, including a father who was a teacher, a son who is currently a teacher and coach, a daughter-in-law who coaches, plus two sisters who are public school teachers, McCarty says “our other family members can’t stand it because we talk school all the time but we know what we’re talking about.”
McCarty came to GRISD in 1980 after serving students for seven years at Ozona High School in the Crockett County ISD and two years at Granbury High School. Prior to accepting a position in Glen Rose McCarty was a teacher and girls’ basketball coach.
Her first assignment with GRISD was as a school counselor at Glen Rose High School, serving in that capacity until 1996.
The next two years, McCarty was assigned to administrative duties, serving as a PEIMS director and coordinator for the Senior Tigers, as well as assisting the district with public relations.
Shortly after, McCarty took on the task of organizing GRISD’s alternative education and disciplinary campus, ACE School. Along with David Craft, McCarty developed the alternative school’s programs and served as principal of the campus.
When the district decided to discontinue the ACE School as a separate campus, McCarty accepted another assignment as principal of the Intermediate campus in 2002.
It’s been six years, but in that time McCarty has led the faculty, staff and students to two consecutive “Recognized” ratings from the Texas Education Agency - the second-highest rating that can be achieved to rate a school’s academic performance.
Now, in her last year of serving students and parents, McCarty’s campus is well on its way to achieving the highest rating, “Exemplary,” based on this year’s student scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills (TAKS).
While McCarty is looking forward to taking a permanent vacation, she knows too well that the rewarding job of educating students and seeing them achieve in life will be greatly missed.
“I’ve always gone by the 98 percent rule,” said McCarty, believing that the majority of educators truly do love their jobs. “Being in the business for 37 years, people have been just very gracious and helped me a lot. That other 2 percent doesn’t mean much next to the 98 percent. I love the staff and the kids.”
McCarty says she will miss seeing her colleagues every day and working with a “great staff and the super helpful parents.”
But the most rewarding aspect of a career that spans 37 years, is seeing first-hand the effort students put forth, says McCarty. “The kids are great because they work their little hearts out for you.”
Known for being on-time, all the time, McCarty says it will take time to adjust to a new schedule and not having to wake up before dawn and be ready for another school day well before the first bell rings.
“I’ve been coming to work by 6:15 or 6:30 every morning for the last 30 years,” she said. “I wanted to take care of all the administrative paperwork first because I wanted to be available for the kids, teachers and parents. I think we all have something that we do differently that it’s not anymore special, it’s just our way of doing things.”
The long hours and sometimes stressful career in public education, she says, were made more enjoyable because she led with the enthusiasm to always improve.
“I always believed in leaving something better then you found it,” said McCarty. “I can honestly say of all the places I’ve dealt with, I’ve tried to leave it much better.”
She recalls her first few years in Glen Rose when the student population was much lower than it is now, but during that time as GRISD dealt with growing pangs and changes in state mandates, McCarty believes students are better poised to succeed.
“I feel that for a small school district such as ours, our children do exemplary things around the world once they graduate,” said McCarty. “We’ve got kids that have been presidents of national associations, and I was fortunate to have helped National Merit Scholars. Overall, the majority of our students have done something good with their lives.”
Not to pride herself, McCarty feels she has made a lasting impact on students. Several accomplishments include the establishment of a scholarship program for students.
In its humble beginnings, less than $1,000 was awarded to graduating seniors, but after a few years and McCarty’s hard work, the program has grown to where more than $2 million in scholarships and funding are awarded each year to those GRHS students looking to further their education.
“I’m also proud of how many students were successful in getting their diplomas at the alternative school - that meant a lot to me,” said McCarty. “It’s always been my thought to provide an education because kids at a minimum would have a high school diploma to become a productive citizen.”
Lastly, McCarty says she’s proud to have led a caring and dedicated faculty at the Intermediate school.
“They are just terrific, and of course the kids, to see how successful they’ve been over the years,” said McCarty. “We don’t have many discipline problems here and you know, the teachers have made that all happen.”
She also recognizes the fact that many of her current students are children of former students she advised at GRHS.
Her proudest moment, occurred just weeks ago McCarty says. After six years of working with Leta Yocham, the Intermediate school’s ESL teacher, to boost participation and involvement with the Hispanic students and their parents, McCarty says the results were astounding.
“Our cafeteria was just packed!,” she said proudly. “The work that all these teachers and parents have done is very rewarding, giving an opportunity to see that all of our students are being academically successful. That’s what we say, but we’re actually showing it - the data will prove it.”
Upon her retirement, she and husband Dan, plan to travel - something either of their careers didn’t allow too much of.
“We’ve already got trips planned for Florida, Port Aransas and other places we never had time for,” said McCarty. “Dan, you know, it was hard for him to leave work. We had a commitment to our jobs and I never did feel like I could do that (vacation).”
Superintendent Wayne Rotan complimented McCarty, saying “she has made an outstanding contribution to the students of Glen Rose ISD and we will certainly miss her leadership.”
“She has spent many years with us, a total of 28, and has affected the lives of many, many students,” Rotan said. “We’ll certainly miss what she has brought to the district and the Intermediate campus, which has flourished the past few years under her leadership. She’s definitely been a big part of the success of the district.”
The public, wanting to express well-wishes to McCarty prior to her retirement, will have the opportunity to come by the Intermediate school’s library on Tuesday, May 20 for a come-and-go reception honoring the principal and two other teachers who will retire this year, including Kathy Pruitt and Pat Hanks.
All three retiring educators will be available for the public to greet from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be served at the reception.