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Principal and former teacher will 'miss the kids the most'

July 01, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Ruth Ann Monroe Elementary School principal gets a morning hug Wednesday morning from second-grade student Kyandre Jones. Ellen Hayes is retiring at the end of the school. Keyandre came to school wearing an ice cream sticker on his forehead.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

After 38 years with Washington County Public Schools, including 21 years teaching and several years serving as principal at four primary or elementary schools, Ellen Hayes said she is looking forward to doing other things with her mornings, but she will miss the children and her co-workers.

“I’m going to miss the kids, the kids the most, and then the teachers because Washington County has some phenomenal, just phenomenal teachers,” Hayes said.

Hayes’ most recent job was serving as Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School’s first principal. The school, off Mount Aetna Road, opened last summer.

Her retirement became effective Sunday, a day Hayes said she spent unpacking boxes from school, cleaning and washing laundry before sitting and relaxing at her Hagerstown home with her husband and father-in-law.

Hayes, 60, said she wants to take yoga and drawing lessons.

“I used to be pretty good at drawing,” she said.

She’d also like to keep her “finger in the educational pool.”

Her husband, Clayton, retired from a Baltimore manufacturing plant four years ago and became a Realtor, Hayes said.

Now that she has retired, the couple is “talking about just doing whatever, when we want to do it.”

Hayes said she got into teaching because of her mother’s “mentality.”

She recalls her mother telling her, “You’re going to go to college and you could either be a nurse or be a teacher,” Hayes said.

“Those were my options,” she said. “But my mom was in teaching.”

“I would have never made a good nurse. I don’t like blood,” Hayes said.

Hayes’ mother, the late Elizabeth Robertson, was the first in her family to go to college, Hayes said. Robertson, who was born and raised in Hagerstown, was a chemist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration until she and her husband contracted polio in the 1950s, Hayes said.

After Hayes’ father, Edward, died of polio, Elizabeth Robertson needed to go back to work to care for her four daughters, Ellen Hayes said.

Her mother became a school librarian, first at Woodland Way and eventually at Boonsboro High, from which she retired in the early 1980s, Hayes said.

The youngest of four daughters, Ellen Hayes attended Wayside School, Broadway School, North Potomac Junior High and North Hagerstown High, from which she graduated in 1970, she said.

Hayes graduated from Shepherd College, now Shepherd University, in 1974 and got a job teaching at Fountain Rock Elementary School, near Saint James southeast of Williamsport.

It was at Fountain Rock that she met her future husband, who was a student-teacher at the school, she said.

She also taught at Springfield and Western Heights middle schools. Later, she became a principal, a post she held at Winter Street, Salem Avenue and Eastern elementary schools before becoming principal at Monroe Primary.

“I love seeing the big picture with the instructional piece, across all the grade levels and what needs to happen in one grade to make things fall in line throughout, and to have those little ones ready to move to the next grade and then ready to move to middle school and move to high school and, hopefully, careers,” Hayes said.

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Hayes timeline

1974-79: Taught fourth and fifth grades at Fountain Rock Elementary School

1979-90: Taught English, social studies and science at Springfield Middle School

1990-95: Taught science at Western Heights Middle School

1995-97: Served 25 elementary schools as an elementary science resource teacher based at Williamsport Elementary School

1997-99: Elementary supervisor of mathematics and science

1999-2002: Principal, Winter Street Elementary

2002-05: Principal, Salem Avenue Elementary

2005-07: Supervisor of human resources and teacher personnel for the school system

2007-11: Principal, Eastern Elementary School

2011-12: Principal, Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School

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