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Karen Manning has announced that she will retire at the end of this school year from Sharon Center School. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

Sharon Center principal to retire after 26 years of service

SHARON — After 16 years as Sharon Center School (SCS) principal, Karen Manning plans to retire from her duties at the close of the current school year.

Characteristically busy with the duties of a school administrator, Manning paused for a telephone conversation on Tuesday, Jan. 25.  She took the opportunity to extol the excellence of her school, each student, and the SCS professional team.

Manning moved with her family to Sharon in 1996, beginning as a substitute teacher for Region One schools. Then, she accepted a full-time position at North Canaan Elementary School, where she served as a math and science teacher for seven years.

In 2003 Manning became the principal at the Lee H. Kellogg School in Falls Village, where she remained for three years.

Manning began as principal of Sharon Center School on July 1, 2006.  In all, she has served Region One schools for 26 years.

“I have enjoyed my journey within Region One in all my roles,” she said. Contemplating her active involvement with students in coordination with their families, as well as faculty and staff, she said that all of those constituencies combine to put the students and their learning first as the topmost priority.

“The mission statement of SCS guides us in all that we do,” Manning said. The mission statement speaks to engagement, achievement, motivation and teamwork as a means of fostering responsibility and integrity.

“We work hard to implement data-driven instruction,” Manning continued. “We work with personalized learning. Regionally, there has been strong support toward the common core curriculum.”

The past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic were a test, she said. The pandemic remains a challenge going forward for the school, but the school has remained open throughout, engaging with remote learning as necessary.

“The technical aspects were a huge learning curve for many,” she said. “Everybody worked together, as the needs arose.

“SCS will continue to be an amazing place. What it has been, it will continue to be,” she said.

“I’m really grateful for the 26 years and the opportunity to have lived and worked in the region.

“It’s been so rewarding.  These children, they grow and they’re amazing.”

Manning’s own children, Judge and Asia, both graduated from SCS and went on to graduate from Housatonic Valley Regional High School, she said.

As to what she will be doing in the immediate future, Manning said that she is too busy these days to plan, although she anticipates many satisfying hours spent on horseback, a pursuit she enjoys.

“I want to be helpful to the world in some way,” she said of her longer-range future endeavors.

At the Jan. 10 meeting of the Sharon Board of Education, the board agreed to form a principal search committee, comprised so far of the Board and Region One Superintendent Lisa Carter.

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