ELDERSBURG — At age 5, Gloria Horneff knew she wanted to be a teacher.
What she didn't know was that one day she would be top administrator of a new elementary school in South Carroll.
"Just to be able to start everything new is a real thrill," Horneff said of her appointment as principal of the new Piney Ridge Elementary School here.
"I have a lot of ideas and dreams of what I would like to do. This will be a fresh start for me and everyone. We are all starting at the ground level."
Horneff, 37, was appointed to her new position in April. This year will be a time for the staff, parents and students to get to know each other and determine what works best, she said.
"I would like to encourage a climate that is welcoming for the children, parents and anyone else who walks through our doors," she said. "My biggest goal is to help make the school as effective as possible, where the children can achieve as much as they can.
"This will require parent involvement and a strong cohesive staff. We will all have to work together," said Horneff, who has taught every elementary grade.
She graduated from Elizabethtown College inPennsylvania in 1975, and came to the county to accept a teaching job at Robert Moton Elementary in Westminster. She taught grades one, four and five before accepting a position as a first-grade teacher at Charles Carroll Elementary School in Silver Run in 1979.
After a four-year leave to be home with her children, she taught grades two and three at Manchester Elementary and served as the school's assistantprincipal for three years, until last year.
In 1987, she earned amaster's degree in education with a concentration in curriculum development from Towson State University. She currently is working on a doctorate in administration and supervision at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Larry Tyree, now supervisor for elementary services at the county Board of Education, was the principal at Manchester Elementary when Gloria was assistant principal.
"Gloria is a highly organized person who is child-centered and focused. She is one ofthe best people that I have ever worked with when it comes to observing teachers and being able to make suggestions regarding effective instruction.
"She has a good understanding of the educational system and what it takes to make the school move forward. She is extremelyprofessional; she knows her stuff," he said.
At Piney Ridge, Horneff will work with a staff of 47 teachers and support personnel and about 530 students.
"We want the children to be as successful as they can while at Piney Ridge," she said. "We will try to focus equitably on all areas of the elementary student's education, offering a well-rounded curriculum with academics and culture.