By Sam Jack
CHENEY – Cheney Elementary School principal Sherri Conrad is retiring after 34 years as a teacher and administrator in Cheney’s public schools.
For the first 25 of those years, she was a teacher at Cheney Elementary, teaching science classes as well as grades four through six.
She next spent two years teaching at the middle school, before spending three years in a dual role as a reading specialist and the district’s curriculum director. After that, she applied for the Cheney Elementary principal job and served as principal for four years.
“I have loved every single portion of that journey,” Conrad said. “Cheney has been really good to provide professional growth opportunities, and they do that for all of their employees. That’s the best thing, I think, about (the school district): allowing people to continue to grow professionally.”
As principal, Conrad’s top priority was meeting the needs of children.
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“I loved leading that: ‘Let’s meet together, let’s make decisions together, let’s problem solve.’ What I hope people will remember is that as we moved forward, we moved forward together,” she said.
Not only Cheney Elementary but also the state education department has focused on relationships and the emotional needs of children, Conrad noted.
“It’s not just about how they test on this given day; there’s more to it than that. Now that’s just really in the forefront.”
While Conrad is retiring from her career as a USD 268 employee, she is not retiring from her work as an educator. She has lined up a part-time job with a company called Responsibility Centered Discipline (RCD).
“I’m going to continue working in the realm of education, focusing on discipline and how to implement a process that basically teaches the educators how to put the responsibility for behavior back on students,” she said. “We all know we want to preserve relationships, but sometimes when the emotions get high and start escalating, that’s when relationships are damaged. This system empowers educators to be masters during those challenging moments.”
Conrad said that her experiences in Cheney will definitely inform her work as she travels the country to share her expertise with other teachers and principals.
Conrad is married to Curtis Conrad, a former Cheney teacher who recently retired as athletic director at Eisenhower High School in Goddard. The couple has two children who both graduated from Cheney High School.