Principal Karen Daugherty won't be the one to greet the students on the first day of school this year as her last day as principal was last Friday.
"I think that's going to be the hardest thing for me, is not being there to get the kids off the bus and put them on, that first day," Daugherty, who has been principal at Rose Tree for the last five years, said.
She was able to say her goodbyes to parents and students at the school's Open House last week and said many of the students were sad to hear the news.
"I think they are very sad to lose me," Daugherty said. "I had a close relationship with the students. Some of them said they felt like they were losing their best friend."
Daugherty, who has been in the education industry for 30 years, is moving on to the Radnor Township School District to become a supervisor of data and achievement.
She will coach principals and oversee state and local assessments and ensure each student completes a full year's growth in a year's time, she said.
"I'm ready for a new challenge," Daugherty said.
She achieved big goals at Rose Tree and feels it's time to move on, she said.
Rose Tree Elementary was ranked 425 out of 1,700 elementary schools when she came onboard and in 2011 the school was ranked second in the state and received the from the U.S. Department of Education.
"I've done what I can do here and it's time for me to move on and grow as an educator," Daugherty said.
Daugherty said her biggest, personal career achievement was receiving the Terrel Bell Award in 2011. The Terrel Bell Award is given by the U.S. Department of Education to seven out of 145,000 public and private school principals, Kindergarten through 12th grade, across the country each year and Daugherty was one of them.
The recently approved for Rose Tree Elementary following Daugherty's resignation. McAllister, who has been a principal in the Upper Darby School District for 30 years, will fill the role while the district looks for a permanent replacement.
Daugherty said she helped to transition McAllister for about a week and she expects everything to run smoothly on the first day of school.
"I was so worried about leaving my kids in somebody else's hands and within five minutes of talking with him I knew my kids were in wonderful hands. And they are my kids, they will be my kids until I die," Daugherty, who has four children and four grandchildren of her own, said.
McAllister, however, won't be applying for the full-time principal position as he will soon retire. (He was retired for about 20 minutes after his resignation from Upper Darby School District and before his RTM board approval as interim principal).
"He is every bit more experienced than I am," she said. "I wish he would stay on, I feel good about him, but he's ready to retire."
Daugherty, who lives in Upper Providence Township, said she's thankful to still be in the RTM community and hopes to stay in touch with the school and students.
"These five years at Rose Tree have been the absolute best in my entire career. Because of the love and support from the entire community we were able to affect some amazing, life-altering changes for all of our students, and boy, am I going to miss it," Daugherty said.