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‘That was awesome’: Students and staff hail retirement of popular elementary principal William Bean in Letchworth | Featured Story

GAINESVILLE – It’s all about the heart.

Students greeted Principal William Bean like a rock star on Thursday as he took a farewell walk through the halls of Donald F. Lockwood Elementary School. Children and teachers greeted him enthusiastically, clapping and clapping before exiting the old school bus loop, where middle and high school students did the same.

In its own way, the farewell was a poetic and fitting conclusion to a career that began with Bean’s original dreams of becoming a rock ‘n’ roll star.

“I started because I was really going to be a rock star, and it was the only job I could work in and have summers off, and do the band thing and stuff,” he said. later in his office. “But of course your mom and dad are like, ‘Honey, you really have to have a back-up plan.’ So my backup plan was to be a teacher.

“My first year was not a good year and I was not a good teacher at all,” he continued. “But there’s just something about everything and the kids, and they hug you and everything, and take care of you. I decided that really, if you want to do something, you have to do it right. So I started doing it right, and I started loving my job, and things just took off from there.

Bean, 55, officially retired Thursday, his birthday. He capped off a 30-year career that included duties as a kindergarten teacher, before becoming dean of students and the last 20 years as an elementary principal.

He spent most of his career – except for a six-month break at Dansville – in the Letchworth Central School district.

Bean’s career was marked by dedicated leadership that often mixed the pure dedication with the whimsical, the wacky, and the visionary. As a guitarist, he led teacher rock bands that performed songs encouraging good behavior and achievement.

He also notably participated in a contest that saw him dress and behave like a pirate in school, which led to him being part of a pirate show at Disneyworld.

Her outfit on her last day? A suit and sneakers.

“I’ve always had a love for children,” he said. “I had a love of working, teaching and educating, and it was great.”

Bean started his career in 1990. His favorite part was simply working with children and teachers – watching them become incredible educators who care about children and do the right thing.

It’s their smiles and honestly, Bean said.

“Kids give you energy,” he said. “They tell you the truth. They tell you if you’ve had a bad hair day. They tell you if you look old. They tell you when you look good. They are your pulse. You have to love children to do the job well, he says. And pay attention to the world and the direction it is going, and try to make a difference.

Bean thinks the teachers at Letchworth have done a good job with this – although given their dedication it can’t just be a job.

“No principal is nothing without the incredible teachers they teach with,” he said. “I would put all of our teachers against anyone. We have some of the greatest and nicest teachers here who have definitely made my job 100% easier and why I come to work every day.

What makes Bean a good principal?

“His jokes and his music videos,” said Ella Holderer, an 8-year-old third grader. “He’s the only manager I’ve had.”

“He really loves kids, and like Ella said, he’s the only principal I’ve had,” added 9-year-old fourth grader Natalie Bartholomew.

“Mr. Bean has served this district with a caring spirit and at a level of excellence that is hard to define in words,” said Superintendent Todd Campbell. “He is always about the children and what they need to succeed. His servanthood and dedication touched every family in the Letchworth District. His legacy of love, joy and enthusiasm will live on here for years to come. He is a respected colleague, but more than that , he is a very dear friend.

Bean will be replaced by Elementary Principal Rachel Webster, while Tyler King is Vice Principal and Middle/High School Athletic Director. Bean mentored the two for years, and all three completed Letchworth’s administration education program designed to nurture leaders in the school district.

The mid-year change allows Webster and the district to make the necessary adjustments over the next few weeks and put them into place, avoiding a “cold start” to the next school year in September.

Bean, his wife Sandra, and their children William and Delaney live in Groveland.

Bean plans to build guitars on cars, help his parents on their farm, help renovate their house, host his own Youtube channel with music videos, watch his kids grow up, and complete the list of things to do with his wife.

“I had a total blessing here at Letchworth School,” he said. “Every parent, teacher and child – everyone – has been so kind and caring in the years I’ve been here. It’s a sad thing, but it’s going to be a really cool transition to the next stage of my life.

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