It's back to school, this time as principal

Before he could take new post, assistant principal is summoned back to run Running Brook

August 24, 2008|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,

Troy Todd has spent the summer moving, only to come right back where he started.

The 36-year-old principal at Running Brook Elementary is a familiar face to students and staff. He spent the past three years there as a respected, dynamic assistant principal.

It was hard for him to leave the school when he was transferred to Waterloo Elementary as an assistant principal at the beginning of the summer. But a series of transfers and promotions within the school system created an opening at his beloved Running Brook, which resulted in his returning to the school just as he had virtually completed the transition to his new assignment.

"Seventy-five percent of all my stuff was moved into different locations," Todd said. "Waterloo is being renovated, so I have boxes in my old office [at Running Brook], in the garage at home, at Ellicott Mills Middle School, and in my car."

The Monday before he learned he was to return to Running Brook, Todd took all the pictures off the wall in his old office. He had been sharing the office with his replacement, Kevin Mulroe, a former gifted-and-talented resource teacher at Clemens Crossing Elementary.

"Kevin was more than generous in letting me move slowly," Todd said. "He was OK with me sharing the office for a little while. Now we are sharing a school."

Todd's summer odyssey may well turn out to be more eventful than what appears to be in store for the county school system as a whole for the coming academic year, which kicks off tomorrow. With no new schools opening, no major redistricting efforts, and no major changes to policies, system officials are expecting a relatively manageable start to the 2008-2009 school year when a record 49,072 students show up for classes.

The transition to principal likely will be smoother for Todd than the moving process.

"I feel really comfortable coming back here," Todd said. "The staff is great. I know the community. I know the school culture. I couldn't have asked for a better place to start."

Todd, a New Jersey native, graduated from Morgan State University in 1996. Shortly after graduation, he accepted a job as a second-grade teacher at Dasher Green Elementary. He stayed at the school for four years before taking a job as a third-grade teacher at Worthington Elementary. He remained there for five years. During that time, he received his master's degree from Loyola College in Maryland in 2003. He came to Running Brook as an assistant principal in 2004.

Although his ascent to principal has been relatively quick, Todd says he is ready for the challenge, and his staff members agree.

"He's definitely more mature than you would think," said fourth-grade team leader Michaeline Van Reenan. "He has a lot more years under his belt than his age might indicate. He's goal-oriented. Age is irrelevant."

Todd said his work with the school's former principal, Lisa Booth, prepared him to lead the school. Booth was assigned to be the principal of Hollifield Station Elementary.

"She prepared me right from the start," he said. "From the beginning, I was thinking along the lines of a principal. I owe a lot to her, and her coaching and teaching of me."

The Running Brook staff is confident that Todd will be able to continue the positive work that he and Booth started.

"I was thrilled to hear that he was coming back," said Mary McKnight, a kindergarten teacher. "I was saddened by losing the other principal. But I know that Troy has energy and enthusiasm."

Van Reenan described Booth's departure as bittersweet.

"We also thought we had lost Mr. Todd," she said. "It's really a joy to have him back. We know his style. The transition should go very smoothly."

Nancy Mays, a reading-support teacher at the school, is impressed with Todd's ability to bring the staff together.

"It's very exciting," she said.

Mays recalled the day that Todd started at the school four years ago, when the school was undergoing renovation.

"Troy right away stepped in and unloaded boxes with us," she said. "He just comes right in and leads by example. We're just really excited. He can really rally a staff. There is a great morale around here."

Todd appreciates the support.

"The reception has been great," he said. "They've been jumping right in. Everyone has been so supportive. They are being so flexible, and so understanding."

comings and goings

This summer, the school board approved several administrative promotions for the 2008-2009 academic year, which begins tomorrow.


Katherine Orlando, from assistant principal to principal at Worthington Elementary

Chanel Morris, from assistant principal to principal at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary

Cathy Nowack, from assistant principal at Thunder Hill Elementary to principal at Longfellow Elementary

Martha Bowen, from instructional team leader at Manor Woods Elementary to assistant principal at Thunder Hill Elementary

Deborah Caldwell, from instructional team leader at Hollifield Station Elementary to assistant principal at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary

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