When Elizabeth Legenhausen became head of St. James Academy in 1987, the school had 144 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. When she leaves to retire on June 30 she will also be leaving behind a school that expanded to eighth grade with 300 students.
And St. James' faculty has grown from 24 to 68 people. The school has mushroomed in size from 7,000 to 104,000-square feet.
And she will be leaving as "Dr." Legenhausen after receiving her doctorate in education rom Johns Hopkins University.
"I always saw myself as a change agent. I love shift," Legenhausen said.
And yet, as she says, some very important things have not changed "St. James remains true to its traditional values."
Legenhausen came to the Monkton school in 1967 after being preschool director at Grace United Methodist Church in Baltimore.
"My identity is inextricably intertwined with this community," she wrote in a recent St. James Academy newsletter. "Sharing children's joys and guiding them through challenges have given substance and meaning to my professional life, surpassing even my lofty expectations."
Her replacement, Karl Adler, is already spending one day a week to get to know students, parents and teachers. He comes from The Calverton School in Huntingtown, Md., where he was middle school head.
Some 450 people attended a party in April to celebrate Legenhausen's 25 years at the school. She was presented with a gold pin depicting the St. James Academy shield that was designed by her husband, Douglas, a goldsmith.
Legenhausen, who lives in Towson, plans to travel and volunteer. And she said, she doesn't plan on "ever again setting an alarm clock."
Many other North County schools are losing teachers and administrators to retirement.
They are: Mary Davis, fifth-grade after 32 years; Genevieve Merryman, pre-first teacher assistant after 23 years; and Valerie Smalkin, performing arts coordinator after 21 years. Others are:
• Hereford High School: Phyllis Boyd, social studies after 26 years; Diane Raycob, world language after 20 years; Cheryl Riisager, world language after 14 years; Geri Goldbergh, para-educator after 17 years; and Fred Martienssen, building operations supervisor after five years.
• Hereford Middle School: Mimi Blama, science after nine years.
• Jacksonville Elementary: Susan Johnson, kindergarten for 18 years; Peg Bossemeyer, grades one and two after 18 years; Lynne Molner, grades two, three and four after 18 years; and Doris Eller, school nurse after 18 years.
• Prettyboy Elementary: Bette Hobner, reading specialist after 17 years.
• Sparks Elementary: Sharon Kearney, principal for five years; and Janet Maltese, second grade after 25 years. Sparks new principal is Pamela Oliver-Jones, currently assistant principal at New Town Elementary in Owings Mills.
• Seventh District Elementary: Jane Leitzel third grade after 25 years; and Nancy Lemmon, first grade after 23 years.