MCES principal Jean Triplett to retire this year
By Kathryn Schiliro
Long-time Morgan County Elementary School Principal Jean Triplett has decided to retire at the end of this school year.
“I just felt it was the right time to retire,” Triplett wrote in an e-mail correspondence. “I have felt I was getting to that point a couple of years ago, but I never felt a complete peace about it until this year. I was always told that you would know when the time was right, and I guess that is true.”
Triplett has been in education for 35 years. She started teaching fourth and fifth grades in Gordon County, Ga. straight out of college before moving to Tampa, Fla., where she was married. The couple elected to move back to Morgan County after Triplett became pregnant.
Upon her return, she started at Morgan County High School (MCHS) in January 1982 as the DCT coordinator, with plans to get a position at the elementary level the next fall. However, Triplett found herself at MCHS until 1990, when MCES opened.
Triplett then became assistant principal of MCES, working with then-principal Martha Brodrick for six years before becoming principal herself.
“I have been so blessed with a career that I loved.” Triplett writes. “I did not wake up a single day and dread going to work. I felt new challenges each and every day, and I have had the privilege to work with some of the finest people I know. I cannot express in words my gratitude for the opportunity to work for the Morgan County School System, to have always have a Board of Education who supported me, to have been blessed with an incredible faculty and staff who gave their heart and soul for children each day, to have worked with supportive parents and a community who cared about their schools and to have worked with some of the most precious children anywhere. I am a blessed lady." Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett feels that Triplett's greatest accomplishment as head of MCES has been building "a culture within the school that is focused on student learning and performance," Bennett wrote in e-mail correspondence.
"As a leader, she has helped to develop true teacher-leaders who understand the primary work of the school," Bennett writes. "She's one of those rare leaders who is more concerned about performance and results rather than image and branding. While you won't find her listed as some organization's person of the year, her legacy will be the students who continue their academic success as they move through the school system and the teacher-leaders who will continue the work and the plan for which she has had the primary responsibility in leading at MCES. She has been a true instructional leader for MCES and for the school system. "
She's not 100 percent sure of her post-retirement plans, but she is creative and enjoys decorating, she writes. She definitely plans to spend more time with her husband, Steve, and sons, BJ and Jesse.
The elementary school's Governance Board will immediately begin the process of finding a new principal for the school. As has been the case in hiring for administrative posts in the past, the board will interview candidates and narrow it down to three; those three are recommended to the superintendent for another round of interviews.
According to Bennett, he and the board are hoping to make a recommendation to the school board at their April meeting.
In the meantime, "MCES will be fine because it is filled with professional people who are there for the children," Triplett writes. "That won't stop because I am not there. They do what they do because they are people of excellence, and they know why they are there."
The school board approved Triplett's retirement at their meeting Monday, Feb. 11.
Printed in the February 21, 2013 edition