by Lisa Tome
Cindy Fitzpatrick is headed back to where she started.
Fitzpatrick will be the new principal at Rising Sun Elementary School. She is replacing Carol Roberts who retires at the end of June.
"The room where I started teaching is the room where I went to first grade. The school has been renovated and now the office is where that classroom was," said Fitzpatrick.
The Rising Sun native is delighted to be back where she started learning and teaching. She attended Rising Sun Elementary from first through sixth grade. She then graduated from Rising Sun High. In 1980, she graduated from what was then known as Salisbury State College. She started her career that same year.
"At Rising Sun (elementary) I taught first, fourth, and fifth (grades)," she said. After teaching for several years she was named a Local Support Teacher and began working at Bainbridge Elementary.
She was there two years and then went to Elk Neck Elementary for a year as assistant principal. She was sent back to RSES for a year, also as assistant principal. She spent five years as principal at Leeds Elementary and three years as principal at Kenmore. She just finished her sixth year at Conowingo.
"I've loved every school I've been in. But Rising Sun is special because of my history with the school and the community. It's neat to go back where I started," she said.
She also realizes that with 34 years with the system, she will now be working with second generations. "I will have the children of children that I taught. I've already gotten emails from people. They are happy I am coming to Rising Sun," she said.
At her new assignment, Fitzpatrick will also be dealing with a larger school population. There are more than 600 students at that school. The faculty and staff roster is also larger and an Infants and Toddlers program will also be offered at the school beginning this year.
"I do like change. I am excited to work with new people. I am excited to get to know more kids - figure out their needs and help them," she said.
Fitzpatrick said going back to her hometown school makes her remember something from the beginning of her career. When she was being evaluated, a mentor told her "it's harder to teach in your own backyard." "I never found it that way," she said. "It's something I've embraced. It's a positive thing."
And lest anyone believe that she plans to do a year at Rising Sun and then retire, Fitzpatrick said that's not the case.
"I have no plans of retiring anytime soon. I don't have any plans of that," she added.
Tom Marinelli, who currently works at Thomson Estates Elementary as principal, will fill Fitzpatrick's post at Conowingo Elementary.