Oakwood Principal Retires After 27 Years With AACPS
Nancy Knouse wants to "enjoy the other side of life."
After 10 years as principal of Oakwood Elementary School in Glen Burnie, Principal Nancy Knouse is retiring, effective Tuesday, so she can "enjoy the other side of life," she said.
For Knouse—who has 28 years in education, with 27 of them in the Anne Arundel County school system—that means catching up on her reading, traveling, playing tennis and volunteering, possibly in a hospital that works with children.
It's that love of children that causes mixed emotions in her decision to retire, Knouse said.
"It's been a wonderful 10 years here. One girl said, 'I don't want any other principal besides you,'" she said, adding she plans to stay in touch with the school community through calls, e-mails and Facebook.
But Robert Kanach, the new interim principal, will start Feb. 1 and will remain until Knouse's permanent replacement is named.
Kanach, who retired as a principal 2 1/2 years ago, said he's content to remain retired.
"There's still an urge inside to work with children and help out the system," he said. "And, it keeps me out of trouble and out of my wife's hair."
This is his third stint serving as an interim principal, but it's his first experience at Oakwood. He recently visited the school to meet the teachers and students.
"It seems like a wonderful school," said Kanach, a 37-year veteran at the time of his retirement. "I talked to Mrs. Knouse, and she spoke very highly of the community."
Some of those at the school also spoke highly of her and said they are looking forward to working with Kanach, who isn't completely new to Glen Burnie, having served as a principal at Ferndale Elementary School early in his career.
"[Knouse has] always been supportive of having the school develop character education practices," said Carolyn Hall, a guidance counselor. "She was all about the children. She always wanted them to be successful and reach their highest potential."
The school's Oakey's Friends Club, which partners students in need of additional guidance with adult mentors from Christ Lutheran Church, was recognized with an award from the Volunteer Center of Anne Arundel County for its faith-based program.
And among initiatives Knouse has started is an effort to be designated as a National School of Character from the Character Education Partnership and to be recognized as a green school. She said the first designation may be announced in April.
If the school does receive the designations, not being around when school officials pick up the awards may be bittersweet, but knowing she was a part of making them happen is enough, Knouse said, who was an assistant principal at Harman and Solley elementaries before arriving at Oakwood and was a reading teacher before moving into administration.
"I'll be happy if they get it," she said. "You can't stay around forever."