Pettigrew will be missed

Published 9:41 am Saturday, March 24, 2012

In every profession there are certain individuals so special that, even when surrounded by excellence, they manage to stand out from their peers.

Sandra Pettigrew, the soon-to-be retired principal at Southampton County’s Capron Elementary School, is one of those people.

The job of educating children has changed in many ways over the years, and few of those changes have made the job any easier for those who have answered the calling to teach. Some have allowed overcrowded schools, reduced funding, unsupportive parents and the many other challenges facing today’s educators to dampen their enthusiasm for the profession.

Mrs. Pettigrew has not.

As principal of the oldest and smallest school in the county, she oversees an aging facility whose hallways shine second brightest only when compared to the smiles of the children who fill them each day. A tough principal with high expectations, she can call each of her 200 children by name and always has a hug for any child interested in one, and they are interested in one from her more often than not.

She conducts herself with a level of class and professionalism that has earned her the respect of educators both in other schools across the county and those she oversees at Capron.

Upon her retirement, the job of principal at Capron will not go unfilled, but for a time her shoes most likely will.

Nearly four decades is a long time for someone to commit to a profession, and Pettigrew’s dedication to professional excellence must certainly be commended. But even greater than that, what has made Sandra Pettigrew’s star shine so brightly in a universe replete with excellence is the commitment she has made to each one of the children whose lives are better because she played a role in it.