Longtime Capron Elementary principal to retire

Published 10:38 am Friday, March 23, 2012

CAPRON—After 37 years in education, Capron Elementary School Principal Sandra Pettigrew will retire at the end of the school year.

“She is the epitome of an educator,” Southampton County Schools Superintendent Charles Turner said Thursday. “Many have benefited from her presence. Her legacy of educational excellence will continue through the success of the students and staff at Capron Elementary School.”

A native of Danville, Pettigrew has been principal at Capron for 11 years. Prior to that, she was principal for 10 years at an elementary school in Prince George County and an assistant principal for three years at Hopewell Middle School.

Pettigrew spent her first 12 years in education in Petersburg, where she taught fourth and fifth grades and was the coordinator for the gifted student and visiting teacher programs.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Virginia State University and has a master’s in administration services from the University of Virginia.

The 61-year-old said making the decision to retire was tough.

“After 37 years of just enjoying what I do, I decided I want to spend more time with family,” Pettigrew said.

Also factoring into her decision was the passing of her mother last April.

Pettigrew will miss the 209 students at Capron.

“They keep me focused and challenged, thinking and on your toes” she said. “When you come in, and you’re having a bad day, all I have to see is a smiling face, or have one hug me, and I just feel good from within to the outside.”

She praised Turner, who is also retiring this year, for his efforts.

“His leadership was just phenomenal,” Pettigrew said. “I always said, ‘when Mr. Turner retired,’ I would want to retire.”

Her husband, Kenneth, is a supervisor in shipping and receiving for a steel company in Dinwiddie. They have a son who lives in Portland, Ore.