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Principal of the Year: Educator’s goal to prepare students for life

When Peggy Greene returned to Ridgeview Elementary after being named Principal of the Year, her office was filled with congratulatory balloons, streamers and flowers.
“There were all kinds of celebrations, including a surprise breakfast, and they put it together in less than 24 hours,” she said with a laugh.
She also received 63 texts from her colleagues following the announcement. “We’re a close-knit group of educators, and they are so supportive.”
Greene was awarded the honor Oct. 27 during a statewide education conference in Nashville. Even after being named the East Grand Division Winner and and one of the nine finalists, she didn’t expect to win the Principal of the Year title. “It’s something I never had in my mind,” she said.
Her vision for Ridgeview’s long-term impact was included in the required two-minute speech regarding her role as ambassador for student achievement and gain:
“Learning objectives connected to real-life situations are vital in students’ understanding and success because this helps the child take their success beyond the classroom and apply it to their lives – therefore contributing to successful communities. As an ambassador, I not only see my responsibility to encourage these children to succeed, but to also involve the families, neighbors, community to encourage the continued success of the next generation who will one day lead.”
Local officials applauded Greene’s accomplishments. “This is a very public acknowledgement of the quality of personnel and staff administrators that we have in the Washington County School System, and the results being created,” Mayor Dan Eldridge said. “Peggy’s commitment to educating young people, and not only meeting the requirements but setting an expectation for excellence, is what got her recognized by the state, but what makes all the difference for the children.”
One of these students offered his opinion on her award, even while in a disciplinary situation. Greene said a seventh-grader was recently sent to her by his teacher following a behavioral problem. “He left a note in my chair saying he is proud of me,” she shared. “That’s priceless.”
Greene believes in the power of a positive attitude. She starts each day with a message to Shine, Don’t Whine. “It comes from Philippians 2:14 where it talks about shining and a positive atmosphere,” she said. “I’ve said it for years.”
She also wants her students to know she loves them, a message she shares every day.
The feeling appeared to be mutual during a visit to Rebekah Moulton’s class. The kindergartners weren’t surprised at all to see her and jumped up immediately for a group hug.
“The kids don’t realize how fortunate they are,” said Moulton, who was a student of Greene’s when she taught third grade. “They take it for granted because they don’t know anything else.”
During her almost 38 years in education, Greene served as a teacher in Fall Branch and Sulphur Springs, and a principal in Gray.
She was selected as principal of Ridgeview Elementary following its construction seven years ago. “I’ve never started a new school, and we were two weeks late getting in,” she said. “A living document is what we called it.”
Greene’s office was moved four times during the project, with one location being a trailer in front of the school.
Setting the tone for the new venture was one of her biggest challenges. “We had teachers from 13 different schools, and we had to get a culture started,” she said.
Greene said faculty and staff members took part in building the rules and procedures for the new school. “They had to have ownership as well.”
She also went out in the community to ask for help, and this assistance continues today. “The community and parent support is unbelievable,” she said. “When I call and am in need, they’re there.”
Greene believes her commitment has a domino effect in other areas. “If they see me working as hard as I can, they