by Lisa Tome
Rick Edwards admits that he shed a few tears during Rising Sun Middle School eighth grade promotion ceremony.
After 32 years working for the school system, the last 19 as principal, Edwards has been promoted to Director of Education Services for Cecil County Public Schools. That means instead of having an office in a school, he will now work at the Board of Education offices in Elkton. The new post becomes effective July 1.
His new job will have him planning professional development for new teachers and administrators, working with the school budget, and compiling the required system Strategic Plan.
Edwards was a teacher at Perryville Elementary. He then served as principal at Conowingo, Gilpin Manor, and Bay View elementary schools. He was tapped to step up from elementary to secondary education when he took the post at Rising Sun Middle. He admits leaving the school for administration will be a challenge.
"This was a promotion. It's a good opportunity. I'm not being forced to take it. But 19 years is a long time to have parents yelling at you," said Edwards.
Before dismissal on the last day of school, Edwards visited the eighth grade picnic. He was dreading the departure of students. "I expect I will miss that greatly," said Edwards. "I will miss the kids. I've loved the kids at every school I've worked at."
Eighth grade students at the school talked about Edwards and what they've learned from him.
"He's a great guy. A great principal. He's generous but he if he has to, he lays down the law," said Michael Rando.
"He's a great role model. He treats you well and fair," said Steven May.
"He's really kind. He protects our lunch table," said Madison Moran.
"He's really kind to students. He's really nice and puts a smile on our faces," said Hannah Martin.
"He really makes school fun. He'll listen to you, give you advice, and he has funny jokes," said Annalia Webb.
"He's a really cool man. He's great, hardworking, and a good principal," said Tim McGee.
Andre Frederic has taught at the school for five years. "He is a very genuinely kind man who cares about the students very much. It's genuine care," said Frederic. "He's very democratic with stuff. We all have a say. He's never lost sight of the kids being a priority. I'm going to miss him."
Dr. Stuart Hutchinson will replace Edwards at RSMS. "He toured the building and met the staff. I'm happy with my replacement. He will do well here. He's a great guy," said Edwards.