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Rutherford Elementary School principal to retire

Rutherford Elementary School principal to retire, new principal appointed

Jan. 22, 2016

When the doors to Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School open on the first day of school in September, it will be the first time in three decades that Principal Kimberly Patterson won’t be there to greet the incoming crowd. After serving the Monticello School District for 33 years, Mrs. Patterson has announced her retirement, effective May 2, 2016.

Mrs. Patterson’s work with the district began in 1983 when she joined the staff at Rutherford Elementary as a teacher. Later, she became an administrative intern before becoming principal in 1994. Since then, she has become an icon at Rutherford, leading the school through many enriching academic and extracurricular improvements.

“I’ve always known that my calling was to work in an elementary school,” she said. “There’s nothing better than working with students at this age. One day they turn your world upside down, and the next they turn it right back up with just one little hug.”
Three generations of students have thrived under Mrs. Patterson’s leadership. She’ll often notice a student who looks familiar and realize that it’s the son or daughter of a student she has taught in the past.

“Spending a career working with children has been a blessing,” she said. “What I will treasure most are the relationships formed with the students, parents and teachers I have had the pleasure to know. My time at Rutherford has been the best years of my life.”
This spring, instead of preparing for another new school year, Mrs. Patterson will instead prepare world-travel itineraries with her husband, while Michelle Knowlton will take the reins as the new principal of Rutherford.

Mrs. Knowlton, who is currently serving as assistant principal at Robert J. Kaiser Middle School, was appointed to become Rutherford’s principal on Dec. 17, and will begin transitioning into the role under Mrs. Patterson’s guidance in Feb. 2016.

While Mrs. Patterson acknowledges that it will be difficult to say goodbye to the friends, colleagues and students who made her career at Rutherford so memorable, she is confident that the school will only continue to grow under Mrs. Knowlton’s leadership.

“Mrs. Knowlton works a great deal to form relationships with her coworkers, students and their families,” Mrs. Patterson said. “She will continue to do great things at Rutherford as principal.”

“Mrs. Patterson’s leadership and drive have always served as an inspiration not only to myself, but to many in the district who have worked with her,” Superintendent of Schools Tammy Mangus said. “The passion and ingenuity that she has shown during her tenure is remarkable. She will be missed, but I am certain that Rutherford will continue to thrive under Mrs. Knowlton.”

“It’s been an honor and privilege working with our students, parents, families, and staff in the Monticello Central School District,” said Mrs. Knowlton. “I wish everyone much success and happiness.”