In what she described as a "serendipitous" career, the principal of Oswegatchie Elementary School is retiring after 12 years.
In 1993, Nancy Macione started working in town as a speech pathologist at Cohanzie Elementary School. When the position as principal opened at Oswegatchie, Macione said coworkers encouraged her to apply, but at first, she was hesitant.
"I always saw myself remaining in some role as a special education instructor," she said last Tuesday, "becoming principal wasn't something I had envisioned, but it was a good decision. I have enjoyed a wonderful career as principal here."
In her office last week, Macione said she is looking forward to retirement but hasn't made any solid travel plans beyond a trip to Lake George, New York, with her husband Jim Macione in September and another trip to Florida later in the year.
"He's been retired for three years, so he's looking to travel a little bit," she said. "He's a car enthusiast so while he's at the shows, I'll be relaxing with the pile of books I've been meaning to get to."
However, when August rolls around, she said she won't be used to not getting ready for school.
At the end of this school year, Macione said she doesn't plan on leaving without meeting the new principal and introducing him or her to the Oswegatchie school community. She still plans to leave behind important information but what she said really needs to come across about the school can't be left behind on paper.
"Whoever comes on board is going to step into a wonderful position and I want them to see that this school is a lot more than what's on paper," she said.
Macione isn't the only school administrator retiring at the end of this school year. Waterford High School Principal Donald Macrino is also retiring, and Superintendent of Schools Jerome Belair has already launched a search for his replacement, so he'll need to begin looking for a replacement for Macione.
Outside of Macione's office last Tuesday, students at recess jumped rope and chased each other, laughing and smiling.
Inside her office, students' colorful paintings, drawings and poems hang on the wall. Plants are kiddy-cornered underneath a window and against a wall; boxes of blank Connecticut Mastery Tests.
Balancing her administrative role with the young imaginations and spirits of the students is what Macione said is the best part of her everyday job.
"Some of the kids joke with me and ask me if I sleep here, sometimes it feels like it," she said. "This has become like a second family and you spend a lot of time here, it's a pretty rigorous schedule, but most of all I will miss the kids.
They're why we're here as educators. At this level, they're so charming, there's always something new and exciting to them. There's a certain curiosity about them and their whole life in front of them. They say some really clever things and they make me laugh."