Pettit retiring from Emily Stowe Public School

By Stephen Pierce, Woodstock Sentinel-Review


Leigh Pettit is turning the page after a 40-year career in education, retiring from her position as principal of Emily Stowe Public School.

Pettit, 59, played a key role in guiding the school through its first year of existence after spending six years as principal of North Norwich Public School in Burgessville.

She was integral in establishing the new public school in Norwich, and while she enjoyed that process, and loves the area, she feels the time is right to move on.

“I wasn’t planning on going this year,” she says. “To come here to a new school for one year and then leave seems kind of odd, but the timing was right for my personal life.

“And after 40 years, you know you have to go sometime.”

She will be moving to Bracebridge to be closer to family, and will spend her time exploring Muskoka on a bike in the summer and on skis during the winter.

Pettit is also an active traveller, and has a trip to the Patagonia region of South America and a cruise to Antarctica at the top of her list of destinations.

“You know, I’m not sure how well I’ll do in retirement,” she says with a smile. “This is something I’ve done for so long.

“I get antsy in the middle of the summer, so I think I’ll probably find the first year a little difficult.”

Pettit began teaching when she was just 19 years old, and found her calling as a physical education teacher early on in her career.

She spent a good deal of her time over the years organizing and coaching sports – something she says made for a smooth transition to her role as an administrator.

While she thoroughly enjoyed her time as a principal, she says the thing she’ll miss most is working with the children.

“Honestly, the relationships you build with the kids is by far the best part (of the job),” she says. “You’re dealing with all of those personalities, you’re getting to know all of those different kids and their families. It’s engaging and it’s a lot of fun.”

Pettit says she feels lucky to have been able to work in the Norwich area, and had nothing but praise for the people of the community.

“I will miss this area. I met a lot of really good people here,” she says. “The support here is phenomenal. You just don’t get that in a lot of communities.

As Pettit bids farewell to Emily Stowe, she is succeeded by Lisa Monroe, who is currently the principal at Innerkip Central Public School.

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