By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — She will spend her retirement years enjoying family by the lake, but won’t forget the strong elementary team and students she leaves behind.
In 20 years on the job, she has also only called in sick once.
North Elementary School principal Mary Coltin announced she will retire at the end of the current school year.
She was honored by the School Board during a meeting Jan. 30. Her last day on the job is June 30.
“I love my job,” Coltin said, “but I’m leaving behind a great school.”
Coltin came to Londonderry after teaching for more than 20 years in Pelham.
She took on assistant principal duties and was named the state’s top assistant principal in 2009.
She eventually took the top job at North Elementary. She is one of only three principals North School has had over the years.
When it came time to make the decision to retire, Coltin said she knew she made the right choice, but it was hard telling North School staff about her retirement.
“It was the hardest thing,” she said, “to stand in front of 50 people and give my staff the news.”
But North School is like family, she said, and all will be well once she leaves.
School Board member Steve Young said Coltin has an “elegant excellence” seen in the way she handles her job and school.
“She is one of the finest administrators to come through our school district,” Young said.
Coltin looks forward to spending time with her three grandchildren and enjoying time at a lake house at Pawtuckaway State Park.
“I want to wake up in the morning and do what I want, when I want,” she said. “I can knit when I want to, watch the sun rise when I want to. I intend to live every day as if it’s my end.”
That includes connecting to her “roots” and spending more time with family members.
That includes her mother.
“I want to go back and spend time with her,” Coltin said. “I want her to teach me things.”
Coltin said she leaves behind a very capable staff that will continue to do great things once she walks out the door for the last time this June.
“I have a very talented staff, very supportive parents and phenomenal colleagues,” she said. “It’s like a family and I know the school that I love will be OK.”