The school year in Howard County officially came to a close Friday, with nearly 47,000 students dismissed three hours early, sent off with waves and well-wishes from teachers.
The school system bade farewell to its graduating class— 3,929 students — over the course of two weeks at the end of May, and now with the close of school for all students, teachers are left to pack up their classrooms and enjoy their summer.
Some are looking forward to more than just a summer off. Spokeswoman Patti Caplan said that as of Friday, 126 people had announced their retirement. Many teachers wait until school is over to decide on retiring, Caplan said, so that number is likely to grow, and the system is anticipating 135-140 retirees.
Those retirees include several members of the central office staff, including Donna Heller, director of health services, Pamela Blackwell, director of student services, Glenn Heisey, coordinator of Leadership Development, and Caplan herself, who has been the public information officer for the county schools for 25 years.
Like many other retirees, Caplan said she was looking forward to relaxing, and to taking the next step.
"I'd like to put my energy into rediscovering old passions for art," Caplan said. "The opportunities are endless. ... I've been blessed to work with people so invested (in education)."