She was an ESOL teacher (English for Speakers of Other Languages) at Reisterstown Elementary School for 14 years, then was assistant principal at Reisterstown for two years before moving to Greenwood where she was assistant to assistant superintendent of Zone 1 schools.

Truesdell replaces Stacey Durkovic, who is now principal at Carney Elementary School.

Prettyboy expects to open with 434 students, about the same as last year. Prettyboy will have three classes in each grade, but there will be four classes of second-graders.

She had a chance to meet her new staff and PTA officers before school ended for the summer and learned Prettyboy will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year.

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She described her leadership style as collaborative and a collective decision-making process.

"I have high expectations of the wonderful staff here, but the first thing I'll ask them is, 'How do I help get you there?' I hope to build teachers' capacity to be leaders. But my ultimate goal is to be with students when they're learning. That is my joy."

Truesdell, who is married with two grown daughters, lives in Finksburg with her husband. They share the household with a Great Dane named Otis and Milo the cat.

Seventh District Elementary:

Assistant Principal Daniel Pizzo joins Seventh District this year, replacing Cathy SantaCroce who retired. He comes from the school system's office of Research Accountability and Assessment.

The school should open under capacity with about 405 students. That number matches last year's figures, said Principal Leslie Brooks.

Seventh District is piloting a new aspect of its Early Childhood Learning Support program that has run at the school for years. In addition to 3-year-olds with special needs, the program will accept up to five typically developing 3-year-olds.

Sparks Elementary School:

Sparks will open with 570 students, about the same as last year. There are five second-grade classes and the other grades all have four classes. First grade will use four teachers and a part-time reduction teacher who will reduce class size by teaching reading and math.

St. James Academy:

The private school in Monkton will say goodbye at the end of this year to Betty Legenhausen, who has headed up the school for the past 25 years. Legenhausen is retiring.

When she first started, St. James had about 100 students. In September, it is expected to open with about 320 kids in kindergarten through grade eight. Last year, the middle school earned World School status awarded by the International Baccalaureate Organization.

The school will hold the "Get Ready, Get Set" program from Aug. 22 to 26 in which students can sign up for refresher courses in math and English. On Sept. 29, it hosts representatives from 25 high schools who will answer questions.

Our Lady of Grace:

Our Lady of Grace School in Parkton will start the year with two new designations: Archdiocesan Collaborative School and Maryland 2011 Green School.

The ACS status means that Our Lady of Grace now has a school board that will have an active role in making decisions for the school and will work with the Department of Catholic Schools to receive training and support. The board will make policies and procedures about finance, marketing and advancement. It will also develop and oversee a strategic plan for the school.

Enrollment is expected to be 200 students from preschool 3-year-olds to eighth-graders, about the same as last year, said Principal Byrdie Ricketts.

She said all grades will be involved in activities that are STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) oriented.