By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Carol Mack said it will be hard to leave the students and families at Matthew Thornton Elementary School when she retires next month.
But her new role as grandmother will keep her busy.
Mack will retire from her job as principal in June after serving the Londonderry School District for 25 years. She has been Matthew Thornton’s principal since 2004.
“I love this job, I love the families,” Mack said. “But my own children are my best work.”
Those children and their children will keep Mack’s days full after she retires. Her son and his wife had a daughter last year, one daughter had a baby in January, and another daughter is about to have twins.
These are the times Mack is now looking forward to.
“This is time I’ll never get back,” she said. “My children will need my help.”
Mack’s history with Matthew Thornton began when her son entered the first grade in 1983. She became an active classroom volunteer and then worked as a teaching assistant.
She eventually went back to college and earned a master’s degree in education. She returned to Matthew Thornton to student teach and never left.
She was a substitute teacher and then taught first grade for seven years. Mack eventually became an assistant principal. The New Hampshire Principals Association named her Assistant Principal of the Year in 2002.
Mack became principal in 2004.
She credits the Londonderry school district for her success, giving her the opportunities for schooling and helping her move forward with her educational goals.
“I am a product of this school,” Mack said. “The school district took a chance on me.”
The students at Matthew Thornton aren’t making it easy for Mack to leave.
She said one first-grader asked her recently if she were “overtiring.” Another older student wondered if she would be living in a retirement home.
“I’m going to miss that,” Mack said. “Over the years, I have been so fortunate to become part of these families.”
Londonderry superintendent Nate Greenberg said Mack will be missed.
“She’s an outstanding education leader,” Greenberg said. “She’s also been fantastic in generating a sense of community among the students, faculty and parents.”
Greenberg said Mack’s friendly style endears her to the Matthew Thornton family. She also has a strong sense of recognizing true academic leadership, he said, and what it takes to make a school work.
“It’s a beautiful blend,” he said. “And I’m going to miss her sense of humor, too.”
In 2010, Mack was named grand marshal for the town’s Old Home Day parade. The New Hampshire PTA named Mack its Administrator of the Year for 2012.
Mack’s husband, Andy, completely supports her decision to retire, she said. Through the years, he has been her strongest ally through all the training, educational studies and life moments.
“He’s been wonderful through all the changes,” she said. “We’ve worked on this together.”