OES principal retiring

Oxford Elementary School Principal Debbie Stout remembers all of the fond memories as she walks through the empty halls while the students learn on the other side of the walls.
Stout announced she will be retiring at the end of this school year after 15 years as principal of the Pontiac St. school, which opened in 1994 as Oxford Intermediate School, then became Oxford Elementary School.
‘It has been something I have been thinking about for a few years,? she said. ‘I am pleased with everything that we have achieved here. It’s been hard because we have a wonderful staff and faculty, fabulous and very supportive parents, and great kids. So it was a difficult decision to make.?
Stout’s worked in education since August 1975. She came to Oxford in January 1991 and spent her first few years as assistant principal at the middle school.
The memories of the Oxford Elementary students will go with her in her new adventures. ‘Our students are so friendly, so kind, and so thoughtful,? she said reminiscing on visiting classes and receiving hugs from the kids every day.
During the years, Stout and the staff introduced new programs for the students in math and reading.
‘I think the most rewarding program recently has been the roll out of the Every Day Math program and watching our teachers learn new ways to teach math,? Stout said. ‘It has been an interesting challenge. It involves parents quite a bit. Parents have helped with the studies at home and that has been great.?
The parents have also lent a hand to leading Destination Imagination and the Buddy Reading Program, when OES students go to Daniel Axford Elementary to read with the younger children.
‘The parent volunteer growth over the last few years makes a huge difference in the amount of work we do with the kids,? Stout added.
Some of the programs Stout began at OES resulted in the Michigan Excellence Award they received last year. The school also received a letter from Governor Jennifer Granholm and congratulated the school on the job they did on their school beautification project.
She will start her retirement on June 19 and will head to Florida to help out some of her family.
‘I am hoping to continue to work but will start out part-time consulting so I can work with my family that needs me,? she added.
She plans on keeping in touch with her fellow administrators and teachers and continuing to support Oxford.
‘It’s a great community, a great place to work,? she said. ‘I have got a lot of friends. I have a lot of parents that have been good friends and very supportive over the years.?
Stout began her administrative career at Oxford Middle School as assistant principal in 1991.
When the district decided to turn the old high school on Pontiac Street into the Oxford Intermediate School, Stout became principal.
‘I think my fondest memories and the ones we hear over and over are the four years that the school was in existence,? she said. ‘I have teachers speaking to me each year about what great years those were – the excitement of having 600 fifth and sixth grade students and the challenges that brought will always have a place in my heart.?
When the middle school opened to sixth graders again, the building was turned into an elementary school and Stout had to look at what changes needed to be made to the school for the newcomers, including where the playground would be, where the buses would drop off the kids and how to convert high school classrooms to elementary classrooms.
Stout will say good-bye to the kids on their last day on June 11 and send them off with the traditional ‘clap off.?
‘If there is a teacher retiring, they lead the school as they exit the building,? she explained.
As the teacher and fifth graders leave, they receive the ‘clap off? send-off. ‘Our tradition has been to wave the buses good-bye and we do cartwheels or handsprings or whatever our gymnastics ability is of the teachers,? Stout said. ‘I am sure we will do a similar process as our grand finale this year.?
‘Working with fifth, fourth, and third grade students is a joy every day,? Stout about being an elementary principal. ‘They are so much fun. It’s a tough job to leave. I will certainly miss the children. They have been so great.?