Moharimet Elementary School’s first and only principal, Dennis Harrington, will retire in July, according to Seacoast Online. They published a wonderful piece about his career–from his Peace Corps years in India to teaching in Poland, to leading Durham’s elementary school.
His colleagues had wonderful things to say about him. He was involved in the community, his school and the lives of his staff, even attending teachers’ weddings:
During 29 years leading the Madbury school, Harrington helped establish its culture and personality. It’s a place where parents are welcome, children’s needs come first and staff members have the tools to succeed, according to Kenny Rotner, who serves on the Oyster River School Board and Town Council.
Moharimet third-grade teacher Liz Schmidt came to Moharimet as an intern in 1991 before coming on board full time. Harrington attended her wedding and visited her newborn children in the hospital. Throughout her time at the school, she said he emphasized decisions should be made “closest to children.”
“He is extremely connected with the kids. He greets them in morning to the best of his ability and says goodbye to them every day to the best of his ability,” she said. “He is extremely busy in the classroom and approachable for the kids.”
Oyster River Superintendent James Morse, who joined the district five years ago, said collaboration is more than a buzzword for Harrington, adding he truly wants all voices to be heard.
“When I think about Dennis, the first thing I think about is, he really does lead from the heart,” Morse said. “To me (that) means he wants to engage the teacher’s voice on all the issues so it’s not just, ‘let’s be collaborative’ in the esoteric sense, it’s more like, ‘If we are going to make a decision, we are going to make a decision together.’”
He told Seacoast Online that he will continue to write about education, and of course, travel:
Come July 1, Harrington’s career in education will formally end. He expects to miss interacting with children and working with dedicated teachers five days a week. But the time has come, he believes, to let someone new step in as principal.
In retirement, Harrington plans to write about education. He also hopes to travel around the United States and visit parts of South America, a continent he’s never been despite visiting 37 countries.
Harrington describes life as a series of concentric circles where one often finds himself in similar situations, whether through a job, relationship or place they live. Human nature, he believes, is to try to do better during each successive stop along the way. In that sense, he considers his life and his career a success.
“It’s been wonderful. If I died tomorrow, there would not be much I’d regret.”
Read the full article here.