After 20 years as a principal, nine of those years as Principal of Knowlton Academy, and another 20 years as a teacher, Renalee Gore is retiring this June. Tempo will interview her replacement, Frederic Noirfalise, this fall when he has settled in. During her tenure, Knowlton Academy has continued its tradition of community involvement and a focus on being a happy school. How does she do this?
“I have learned how small interventions can have a large effect. Such as a pet duck, called Feisty, that I had in my class when I was a teacher. Feisty made the year. The kids and their parents all bonded around the duck. Parents even competed to look after Feisty on the weekend, all contributing to her care and feeding.”
What was she most proud of in her time at Knowlton Academy? “I think it was in taking Shelley Mizener’s idea for a school garden and making it happen,” she replied, “Like Feisty, the garden project has become a uniting force in the school and with parents.”
As a result of this pilot, many other local schools are also introducing gardens. Ms. Gore’s other favourite project has been the appointment of Heather Croghan as the Re-Adaption Officer, whose role is to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable new children at the school. Assisting Croghan are several Early Entry Aides who are assigned to specific children. As with the garden, other schools are now adopting this process. How is it that Knowlton Academy is often the first to try new things?
“My rule for saying yes to new things is a simple one,” Ms. Gore told us, “Does it positively impact the children? If yes, I usually say yes.”
What is next for her? “I have lived such a regimented life for 40 years. More than anything, I look forward to more freedom in my life.”