Principal Karen Smith is retiring after this year and will be succeeded by Trina Petty-Rice, a principal in the .
Knowing a new principal at Mark Twain will be stepping into big shoes, Maplewood-Brentwood Patch didn’t want to be the one to bring up the subject.
But Petty-Rice took the opportunity in her first breath. She said she’s looking forward to continuing Smith’s legacy.
“She is a phenomenal educator,” Petty-Rice said. “I’ll be going to a , a school that is truly invested in children. It will allow me to have an opportunity to lead and share in the same vision.”
Petty-Rice is an assistant principal at two elementary schools with a total of 900 students on a three-day rotation. She said Ladue and Brentwood have similarities: they both value education and technology.
They’re both “all about the kids, so it’s a nice segue way for anyone starting out in a leadership position,” she said.
In fact, it's key.
“I think especially now, as we have so many issues such as budget cuts, to make sure that whatever we do, make sure it’s still about students and their growth,” Petty-Rice said.
She continued: “I’m all about family. I’m all about each child, individualizing. When you look at data, when you look at all the numbers, you can put a face to that data, and you can always say, 'This is a student that I want to individualize an education plan for, to help them move along.'”
Petty-Rice served as the instructional technology coordinator for Ladue schools for six years. She spent five years as a gifted and technology teacher at and seven years as a third- and fifth-grade teacher at .
Before to moving to St. Louis, she taught first, second and fourth grades for six years in Florida.
She is completing a second master's program in educational leadership at . She holds a master's in computer education from and a bachelor's in early childhood and elementary education from Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.
She said that starting out, she plans to be a learner and listener.
“I’m not looking to come in and hit the trail blazing with new ideas,” Petty-Rice said. “I think what they have is not broken, and I want to continue with their vision.”
She said Smith is going to mentor her and help her with the transition.
“You really couldn’t ask for anything better than that,” she said.