By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Saying goodbye will be tough.
Students, staff and families at Matthew Thornton Elementary School are preparing to say goodbye to principal Carol Mack.
Mack retires this month 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 after announcing her retirement earlier this year.
Now it’s time for the school community to say its farewell.
Classes at the school are already doing special things for Mack, according to assistant principal Alfred “Ace” Thompson.
“Fourth-graders invited her up to the classroom and created a special poster with their handprints, saying all the things they loved about her,” Thompson said.
A party is also planned for district staff, family and friends to honor Mack’s service to the district.
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 then headed to college, eventually earning 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 before taking the top spot.
In a letter to school parents and families, Mack said it was hard to say goodbye.
“The time has come for me to bid farewell to the staff and students of MTS,” she said. “It’s hard to even write that sentence, but I am very happy to report that you are sure to enjoy working with Mrs. Sharon Putney as the new principal. Everyone who has met her so far has enjoyed her charm, sense of humor and expertise.”
The students aren’t making it easy.
Mack 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.”
Putney was named to replace Mack as Matthew Thornton’s leader after serving as assistant principal at Thorntons Ferry Elementary School in Merrimack.
Thompson is looking forward to Matthew Thornton’s new chapter, but said he will miss Mack’s leadership. The last day of school will be hard, he said.
“Carol has always dismissed the buses,” he said. “She’ll be standing out there, waving goodbye to the kids. And I’m sure there will be bubbles blowing. That was one of her things.”