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Meet Mark Twain Elementary's New Principal

Trina Petty-Rice will be stepping in for Karen Smith, who is retiring after this year.

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.

Lois Gilliam March 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM
How wonderful, God is to be praised, in everything,so I thank Him for giving you the knowledge to be successful. Congratulations, you deserve the best, God bless you in your new position.
Tenille batsell March 02, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Congratulations!
Valda Jackson March 02, 2012 at 11:39 PM
This will be a smooth transition for you. You are doing what you do best: continuing to use your God given gift of "Leadership", helping all children and their families to grow and develop. I especially like you having said "I will be a Learner and a Listener" as you continue to learn and grow. I know that the sky is the limit. Congratulations. I love you. Valda Jackson
La Wanda Price March 02, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Congratulations!! You will truly be missed. May God continue to bless you as you shine and be a blessing to others as you have been to my family.
Maria Page March 03, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I always knew God had great things for you!! You are amazing...and now the world knows it, too.

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