Helping others the hallmark of educator Ron Etue's life

Melba’s Top 5

  • Ellicott City resident Ronald Etue spent 25 years as principal of Hyattsville Elementary School, in Prince George's County.
Ellicott City resident Ronald Etue spent 25 years as principal… (Submitted photo )
August 18, 2011|By Melba McCarthy

Ronald Etue, an Ellicott City resident and retired educator, has had many jobs in education since graduating from college in 1967. The 67-year-old continues to keep busy by volunteering throughout the area and has an admirable philosophy of life. Etue elaborates on these topics in his Five Questions.

You've had a long career in education both in Maryland and across the country. How did your career progress after college?

I am a retired elementary school principal and have spent almost my entire career (35 years) in the Prince George's Public School System. I have been officially retired for the past two years, but after 25 years as an administrator, I have spent the last few years training, teaching and recruiting for the county.

I started teaching in Michigan in 1968 at the third/fourth-grade combination level at Blanchard Elementary School. After that, I advanced to one year at the high school level, teaching my favorite subjects — social studies and geography. I also coached as well — football, basketball and baseball, on the junior varsity level.

Then, in 1968, I went to Pearl City, Hawaii for a year to teach sixth grade before relocating to Maryland to teach another three years and become the vice principal at James Harrison Elementary School, in Laurel.

With desegregation the next year, I was one of 20 teachers selected to visit 20 schools and mentor teachers on how to improve the reading ability of the area students. I then became a vice principal for two years at Riverdale Elementary School before starting my 25 years as a principal (at Hyattsville Elementary School).

In 1986, I had the opportunity to start one of the first TAG magnet schools in the country. That program brought in 100 gifted minority students to Heather Hills Elementary School, in Bowie, which is now a Blue-Ribbon School.

I am still in contact with many of my former students and teacher friends I've known from those 40 years of teaching.

Where did you get your training to become an educator?

I graduated from Central Michigan University, in Mount Pleasant, Mich., in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. A few years later, I got my master's degree plus 30 credits in administration and supervision of the elementary school from Bowie State University.

Now that you've retired from education, what keeps you busy?

I am really enjoying retirement. After all, I am "grandpa" to Jason Andrew Etue. I am very proud of my daughter, who is a veterinarian, and my son, who works with computer software.

My volunteering is a big part of my life now, working for the past three years with Neighbor Ride, which provides seniors with transportation to medical appointments, shopping and social events. Also, I volunteer with the Knights of Columbus organization of my church.

My wife and I love animals and we have a horse, a dog and a cat that keep us very busy. I also enjoy taking care of our house and lawn in Ellicott City, which requires a lot of yard time.

What are some of the things you enjoy doing for pleasure?

In my leisure time, I enjoy playing Bingo with my 91-year-old mother, who lives in Arizona, and our visits there include a lot of Bingo. In the area — Ellicott City — the local senior centers are where I play poker and bridge, which are challenging and fun and are where I have made lots of friends. I always make sure I make time for exercise five days a week, but I also continue to advise and recruit for the school system.

What is your outlook on life and philosophy?

I love my wife and family and our future plans are to spend summers in this part of the country and winters, possibly, in Arizona. I try to stay positive, love life and enjoy each day. I was brought up to believe that we are all equal and to treat others like I want to be treated. I have been blessed with good health and really do enjoy helping others.

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