By Anna Skinner
Susan Hobson is all Carey Ridge Elementary School has ever known when it comes to principals, and she retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year.
Hobson has been at CRES for nearly two decades and previously taught at Washington Elementary, which is now the Westfield Intermediate School. All in all, Hobson has taught at Westfield Washington Schools for 42 years.
“I was at Washington Elementary as principal before (CRES). Prior to being principal there, I was a first-grade teacher and Title 1 reading teacher at Washington,” Hobson said. “When I started, we only had the one elementary building.”
Now, there are six elementary schools in Westfield.
Hobson said over the years, there have been two changes at CRES that really touched her.
“One of the highlights was adding a Hispanic population back a couple years after we opened, and the students and their families started moving into Westfield for work,” she said. “We have a variety of students who are ESL (English as a Second Language). Also, the preschool program has grown. We’ve got a strong preschool program, and the school corporation has added the after-school and before-school programs.”
Andy Hilton, who previously served as assistant principal splitting time between CRES and Maple Glen Elementary School, will serve as CRES principal beginning in the 2016-17 school year. A new assistant principal has not yet been named.
“I think Andy is an excellent choice. He is well prepared to take over,” Hobson said. “With the new superintendent in the corporation, I think that’s going to bring with it some changes in a natural way. As far as curriculum (at CRES), we will be implementing a new math curriculum for next year.”
One of CRES’s recent big pushes is technology. The school has 270 iPads for students to work with.
“The technology curriculum will be a big piece that Andy will be working on with the staff,” Hobson said.
As for her newly found free time, Hobson said she plans on spending it with her five grandchildren, four of which live in Texas. She said she also enjoys baking and reading.
“I think Carey Ridge is very family-oriented, both among staff members and parents and families that come to (the school),” Hobson said. “I’m really thankful to work with such a wonderful, supportive staff and supportive parents. That’s such a special part about the Westfield community is how the parents and families support the schools. I think that’s a huge part of why Westfield is as successful as it is.”
Susan Hobson timeline
- 1974-1977: First-grade teacher at Washington Elementary.
- 1977-1981: Title 1 reading teacher at Washington Elementary and Westfield Middle School, grades 1 through 8.
- 1981-1989: Returned to first grade at Washington Elementary.
- 1989-1998: Principal at Washington Elementary.
- 1998: Carey Ridge opens.
- 1998: Principal at Carey Ridge Elementary.
- 2010: Receives the Westfield Schools Westfield Chamber of Commerce Award.
- 2016: Retires from Carey Ridge.
Teaching future teachers
Hobson said one of her most interesting experiences serving as principal is when students go through Carey Ridge and then go on to become staff at Carey Ridge or in Westfield Washington Schools.
“Jason Lineback was one of my students, and now he teaches at the intermediate school,” Hobson said. Lineback was first hired as a Carey Ridge teacher. “It’s fun to see students who have gone through here go back into education, too. There have been several students who have gone into education and other areas, and they come back as student teachers and sometimes to work in the corporation.”