Green still bleeds Pirate Blue after 27 years in education

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
After 27 years in education, Laura Speed Elliott Principal Stephanie Green has decided to retire at the end of the school year.

LSE Principal Stephanie Green can say she has been a Pirate pretty much all her life.

Except for stints in teaching at Kemper Military School and College and Jamestown High School, Green has bled Pirate Blue since graduating from Boonville in 1989.

However, after 27 years in education, Green has decided to retire at the end of the school year as principal at Laura Speed Elliott Middle School.

After graduating from Boonville in 1989, Green attended Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado from 1989-1994. Then, from 1994-1997, Green was ESL Director and teacher at Kemper Military School and College in Boonville. Following a three year stint at Kemper, Green returned to the public school system, where she taught at Jamestown High School from 1997-2001. Meanwhile, at Boonville, where she has spent the past 17 years, Green taught ELA grades 9-12, yearbook, intro to journalism, newspaper, sports literature, mythology, head coach for girls tennis from 2001-2018 and head coach for boys tennis from 2003-2019.

Boonville R-1 Superintendent Sarah Marriott said the district wants to congratulate Ms. Stephanie Green on her upcoming retirement.  “Ms. Green has dedicated 20 years to the Boonville School District in a variety of capacities,” Marriott said. “She has significantly impacted the lives of many students through teaching, coaching, and most recently administration.  Ms. Green loves working with, teaching, and coaching students.  She is a terrific advocate for students.  We will miss her on the tennis courts and in our classrooms.”

The following is a questional and answer with Ms. Green:

Q: First, tell me why you decided to retire?

A: I was blessed to be afforded the opportunity to retire early. With no family in the area, I decided it was a good time to relocate closer to my parents, son, brother, and extended family.

Q: What are your plans after retirement?

I will be moving to East Tennessee for a bit and will look for opportunities to stay in education as a servant leader, but will enjoy being able to spend time with my family and do some traveling I've been putting off for years. 

Q: Explain to me the difference when you started teaching and today. How has education changed and what do you foresee in the future?

A: The landscape of education is ever changing. Technology has allowed so many opportunities to enrich learning, but has edged out much of what education looked like 27 years ago. We push kids to learn skills and concepts at younger ages and accelerate the learning process. We've also seen a shift in the needs of students and families and schools now have more supports to address social emotional learning as well. 

Q: If you had advice to incoming teachers or someone wanting to get in the administration field, what would you tell them?

A: Love what you do. Go to school and feel a sense of wonder at all of the little things happening around you. Find the silver linings each day and celebrate them. It's a tough job, but one of the most rewarding careers you can possibly have if you are truly vested in it. 

Q: What improvements do you see in your time as principal at LSE?

A: We have been able to positively shift the culture and climate of the school with consistent expectations, restorative justice practices, and with a sense of community. We have reduced discipline, and increased proficiency in math, ELA, and science.

Q: What was the hardest part about being a principal?

A: The hardest part of any role in education is finding balance each day. As a principal, for me, it has been planning and being able to follow through without letting a million other needs get in front of the goals we set. 

Q: What did you like about teaching in a classroom?

A: In the classroom, I loved exciting students to explore and find their passions and to see that look on their faces when they "got it" and felt successful. Those meaningful life lessons didn't always have to include the curriculum, but were always rewarding. 

Q: You coached both the boys and girls tennis teams at BHS. What enjoyment did coaching tennis bring you?

A: Tennis has been a passion for me since I was 11 years old. Sharing my love of the game with young people and watching them now sharing their love of tennis with others is the best feeling. Taking boys to the State tournament 30 years after I went as a high school senior was one of the highlights, but the day in and day out peace of being on the courts with up to 25 energetic players gave me a sense of purpose - I learned more coaching than I ever did playing and I'm grateful for the players who allowed me to grow with them.

Q: What are you going to miss the most about the educational field?

A: I'm not quite ready to give up education. I intend to continue my career and I'm excited about all of the opportunities outside of traditional classroom teaching and administration that are available now. I love building relationships with students and staff and want to be able to continue that, because like coaching, I always learn and grow from those interactions with others.

Q: What was your biggest accomplishment as a teacher?

A: That's so hard to answer, because my accomplishments were also my students' accomplishments. I'm so proud of the work we did in yearbook and newspaper and all of the opportunities it afforded students. While I loved being named Missouri Journalism Teacher of the Year in 2007, I love still having connections with students as they grow through their own lives. I've been blessed to become friends with so many of my now adult students. 

Q: What was your biggest accomplishment as a principal?

A: I was fortunate to be able to put together a really great team of teachers and support staff and with their help and hard work, I feel like we were able to really shift the culture of education at LSE. 

Q: Why did you decide to get in teaching profession?

A: My parents were in education, I chose to go to a college known for its education program and although I was slated to go into broadcast journalism, my love of connecting with people and helping them learn won out in the end. 

Q: What is your best memory as a teacher at Boonville?

A: My best memories always involve the friendships built with colleagues and the relationships and connections built with students. I loved being able to be with my son as he traversed high school, I loved watching students excel in the classroom, on fields, courts, and the stage. I loved crazy Speech meets and late work nights with yearbook and newspaper staffs, but mostly I just loved watching people grow and be successful.