Bala Cynwyd Middle School principal Margery Andersen is retiring from K-12 education this summer, and she really doesn't know how to feel about it.
"I'm kind of getting used to the idea. It's not something I'm thrilled about," Andersen told Patch in a recent interview. "They tell me that you come to a a point where you're driving to work and you think you just don't want to do this anymore. I can honestly say that's never happened to me."
Still, after 41 years in education, 20 years at BCMS and four as principal, "I figured it's time to let somebody else do this," Andersen said. "I have grandchildren now. They live in California and Vermont; I'd like to spend more time with them. My mother's getting older; there are parts of the world she'd still like to see."
Andersen, a resident of northeast Philadelphia, started her career in New Hope, PA, wearing "a whole lot of hats" as kindergarten teacher, curriculum coordinator and other positions. At BCMS, she oversees a staff of about 120 and 860 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
"I love my job," Andersen said. "I love this community, I love the school. There's no reason, in terms of my professional life, why I'm retiring. But things change. There is life after you actually retire."
The principal said she couldn't identify a specific moment as the best of her career, but she does have a favorite scenario she sees from time to time.
"It's those moments when a student you've been working with turns the corner and really starts to engage," Andersen said. "And sometimes that doesn't happen here, it happens at the high school because of what we've done here."
Andersen will continue for a few years teaching at the graduate level, as an associate professor of urban education and secondary education at Eastern University, but once she starts running out of anecdotes and examples from her day job, she said, it'll be time to retire from that, too.
Chris McGinley, the superintendent of Lower Merion School District, said Andersen and Cynwyd Elementary School principal Connie DiMedio, who is also retiring, are both "dedicated, successful administrators" who will be missed. Applications to replace them are being taken through March, interviews will take place in April and hopefully a new principal will be hired in May.
Said Andersen, "This is, by far, the most exciting school district in the state of Pennsylvania. It's an incredible district and an incredible leadership team at the top, and I wish people understood just how dedicated the teachers are."