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Githens retiring after 30 years in teaching

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A principal is bidding farewell to the district she has served for 34 years.

Dr. Gail Githens, the principal at Red Rock Elementary School on Commonwealth Avenue in Woodbury since it opened in 2001, will work her last day June 30.

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Githens has also worked as principal at Bailey, Hillside and Grey Cloud elementary schools, and taught at Oltman Junior High and Woodbury Elementary School since she joined South Washington County Schools in 1974.

One of the greatest challenges during her more than three decades in education was overseeing the opening of Red Rock in 2001.

After construction deadlines were missed a number of times, Githens saw her new students and staff begin the 2001-2 school year scattered around several schools in the district, only finally moving in to their new building in February 2002.

"It was a great challenge, but great team building," recalled Githens. "Parents were really supportive and understood at that time that there were things beyond our control.

"The students were with their teachers in their classes, so when they moved here in the February, they had already built those class procedures and friendships."

Githens originally announced her intention to retire one year ago, but later withdrew her request, saying she wished to work another year for personal and professional reasons.

As for her retirement plans: "I want to do the typical retirement things -- new adventures with family and friends through travel, and I'm especially looking for warmer winters."

She said the staff, the students and the support of the parents have been the highlights of her time in District 833.

"Every day is different and I love my job," added Githens. "I have really enjoyed my career in education."

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