ELV principal steps out early

He had intended to finish out year, but instead retired Friday

By Katheran Wasson Published:

Today retired educator Linda Nickel takes the helm as interim principal at the Early Learning Village.

Nickel replaces Donnie Owens, who served as principal since the school opened in 2007. He came to Franklin County in 2004 when he was hired as principal of Elkhorn Elementary School.

Superintendent Chrissy Jones said Owens announced his retirement to staff a few weeks ago. He wants to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, she said, some of whom live across the state in his hometown of Glasgow.

“It was a very tough decision for him,” she said. “You could tell he was very torn about his decision, but he’s given many, many years to a lot of students – he’s going to be missed, for sure.”

Jones said Owens started the school year intending to finish it.

“He’s been thinking about it for a while,” she said. “He really thought he could do another year, but once he got started, he realized it was time.”

Nickel retired in 2004 after her career as an elementary and middle school teacher, principal of Bridgeport Elementary School and assistant superintendent of Franklin County Public Schools.

She continued to work for the school district part time after her retirement, Jones said.

“I feel very blessed to have her (at ELV),” Jones said.

Jones said she’s meeting with ELV staff today to discuss the future of the school, which serves kids in preschool through first grade. The school has become crowded at 704 students.

She plans to discuss the issue with the Board of Education later this month, and said she might form a committee to look at the options. Jones said that contrary to rumors, no decision has been made yet.

“At this point, we have no plans to change anything,” she said.

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