Darren Doyle, story and photos:
South Edmonson Elementary staff and students gave an emotional goodbye ceremony to departing Principal Jamie Woosley this morning at the school.
The ceremony was a surprise to Woosley, who will finish out his five year stay at SEES next week before joining the Warren County Board of Education central office as his new school, Jennings Creek Elementary, finishes construction. Woosley has accepted the principal position at the new school which is closer to his own home and family.
The ceremony featured a customized song from Mrs. Jessica Doyle's music students, dancing from the students, and the school and PTO presented Woosley with handcrafted gifts, one of which Woosley said would be the first item hung in his new office.
A video was shown with students from all ages describing Mr. Woosley. The responses ranged from "he smells good," to "he's the best principal ever," "he has a mean face," and "I love him."
Woosley fought back emotion with his wife, Amy who was in attendance along with one of their sons.
"I don't often run out of words to say, and our teachers know that," Woosley said. "But I'm speechless today. I was not expecting this. Six years ago, or 5 and a half, I didn't know you, you didn't know me: teachers, students, and parents. The last six years have changed that a lot. It truly feels like we're all a big family."
Woosley also thanked everyone in the gym, including his wife and family for the support he's received during his stay at SEES.
"I truly appreciate all of this, it means so much, but South Edmonson is where it is today not because of me. It makes it easy when you have kids like we have. It makes it easy when you have parents like we have. Anything we ask, you provide. The teachers in this room? This staff is second to none, and I've seen some pretty good staffs. I'm very humbled by this and I thank you so much."
Students and staff shared both tears and laughs at the ceremony as they reflected back on Woosley's time at SEES. They also enjoyed reminding Woosley of the times when he kissed a pig, became a human ice cream sundae, and was duct taped to a wall while receiving multiple pies in the face, all of which were incentives for students to succeed.
Mr. Woosley began his career as an educator in 1998 when he joined Warren County Public Schools as a teacher at Greenwood High School. He spent more than a decade in the classroom before transitioning to administration in 2008 as the assistant principal of Rich Pond Elementary. He was named principal of South Edmonson Elementary School four years later in 2012.
He said next week will be his final work week at SEES before he turns things over to newly named Principal Josh Long , who is set to take over upon Woosley's departure.