Fairview principal retires after 35 years service

Fairview students, staff bid Principal Amy Flood a heartfelt adieu on her retirement Fairview students, staff bid Principal Amy Flood a heartfelt adieu on her retirement Amy Flood always knew she wanted to be a teacher. “Education is not a job,” she notes. “It is not a career. It is a calling.”

Called 35 years ago to the Plymouth School District, where she has served 28 years as Fairview Elementary School principal, Flood retired March 21.

Students and staff gave Flood a moving send-off March 20 in the school gym, wearing bright red T-shirts provided by the Fairview Parent Teacher Organization.

Flood watched from the seat of honor between her husband, Bob; and daughter, Stephanie, and mother-in-law Collette Flood.

Fourth-graders opened the assembly by singing the theme song from the recent citywide collaboration “March Fourth: A Celebration of 4th Grade.” Each class then presented a tribute to Flood:

4K: Recited a poem of thanks

Review photos byEmmitt B. FeldnerStory byJamie Piontkowski Review photos byEmmitt B. FeldnerStory byJamie Piontkowski K/1st: Sang “You Are My Sunshine” and “You Are My Principal”

2nd: Presented an anagram on the letters PRINCIPAL

3rd: Shared biographical info on Mrs. Flood

4th: Danced to Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration”

Representatives of the staff also spoke, including incoming Principal Nick O’Malley, who accepted Mrs. Flood’s famous Cat in the Hat costume.

Six former teachers - Faye Hughes, David Marsh, Cathy Marsh, Sue Wegner, Anita Williams and Sue Shaffer - read a “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” poem and then examined Flood’s work and retirement schedules, with many suggestions for ways she can fill her newfound spare time.

Yvonne Bruggink of the Fairview PTO gave an emotional goodbye. “You aren’t just my children’s principal - you are my principal,” she said. “I’ve never asked for anything I didn’t get help with. You’ve given us such a good example of how to be present for one another.”

Flood indicated that it’s hard to decide when to retire, but added that her decision feels right. “I’m going to miss you, but I’ll see you,” she said.

After the assembly, the entire school gathered for a photo outside. Each class later got to enjoy cupcakes with Flood.

“I have loved teaching and being principal long enough to have the children of former students,” she said. “I have loved living in the city where I work, seeing students and families out and about, having students come up and say hi. We have such a beautiful community and a fantastic school system of which we can be very proud. Our district is always open to ideas and innovations to encourage each and every person to become the best that he or she can be.”

Flood said she’s been blessed to work with many great staff members over the years, including secretary Clare Erbe, who has been at Fairview as long as she has. “Education is most definitely a team effort,” Mrs. Flood said. “What greater joy is there than to be able to come to work each day and know that you can make a difference in the life of a child?”

Flood grew up in Waukesha and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in December 1979 with majors in physical education and health. Beginning in January 1980, she was P.E. teacher at Cascade, Parnell and Parkview, and also served as PHS varsity volleyball coach from 1980 to 1987 and as PHS JV basketball coach in the mid-1980s.

She remembers being a relatively new teacher in the district when the Plymouth High School boys basketball team went to State in March 1981. She knew the team would drive past Parkview on its way out of town and wanted Parkview students to line the street and wave.

But she had trouble getting in touch with then-Principal Stan Seuer to get permission - he worked in all of the elementary schools and there were no cell phones then. After she finally made contact with Seuer, the Parkview secretary helped her make a surprise announcement (“to the dismay of some of the teachers”). She then hurried out of the building toward Western Avenue, only to see the caravan drive past as 300 students rushed out of Parkview, several hundred yards away.

In 1982, Flood met and married her husband, Bob, becoming a member of “a large, loving family with Plymouth roots, the Floods,” she said. “We were blessed to have raised three children (Stephanie, Michael, and Andrew) who attended Plymouth Schools.”

Flood became principal and P.E. teacher at Fairview in June 1986. She earned her master’s degree in educational administration from UW-Milwaukee, and eventually became principal full time at Fairview. She also served as principal of Cascade Elementary School during the 2008-09 school year.

Some of her favorite traditions were dressing up each year on March 2 for Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and having first-graders come to her office to read individually each spring. “I love building those relationships and seeing their growth with such a foundational skill as reading,” she said.

Flood has observed changes in education over the years. For example, it has become more challenging to continue to offer an outstanding education with increased needs, increased budget cuts, and increased mandates. She also has seen an explosion in the use of technology in education.

After retirement, Flood plans to spend more time reading, exercising and traveling. “I am looking forward to having some choice in how I spend my time, but know I will absolutely miss the people - children, staff, families!”

Flood will be succeeded as Fairview principal by Nick O’Malley, a 1994 graduate of Plymouth High School - and former student of Mrs. Flood - who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and his master’s degree from Capella University. O’Malley, who started at Fairview on Feb. 5, served as an elementary principal in the Raymond School District for three years and taught English for 10 years.

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