When David Timmerman was hired as St. Paul School’s principal seven years ago, he was supposed to fill the job on an “interim” basis, while vice principal Kathy Sherman was finishing her master’s degree in administration.
But Timmerman said he liked being the principal too much.
“And I just didn’t know when to quit,” he said and grinned on Monday.
Now, Timmerman will be retiring. His last day will be on June 30.
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Timmerman said his pending retirement has just recently started to sink in.
“It’s scary in a way,” he said. “I’m going to miss this place terribly. The kids, parents and teachers are all such wonderful people… There is not one kid here who I would not want to take home. They’re so much fun. They want to learn, and they each have their own unique talents and gifts.”
Every morning school’s in session, Timmerman said he looks forward to crosswalk duty. While this duty is normally assigned to teachers, Timmerman said he has enjoyed doing it.
“This was my way of putting kids faces with their parents faces together,” he said.
While Timmerman said he looks forward to retiring, he said he will need to find something else to do.
“Who knows? I might follow my ambition to be a rock star?” he said and laughed.
Sherman will be taking over as the new principal on July 1.
“It’s time for her to take over,” Timmerman said. “She will do a wonderful job.”
St. Paul has accomplished a number of things under Timmerman’s leadership, including having smart boards installed in each classroom. Each St. Paul student is also now equipped with a Chromebook computer.
Outside of the classroom, St. Paul recently installed new playground equipment.
Timmerman attributes all of the accomplishments and others to the “generosity of the St. Paul community.”
He cited the Chromebooks as an example.
“Students are now able to learn one-to-one with their teachers,” he said.
He said computers have changed the teaching profession tremendously over the years.
“I never even had a computer on this desk when I was hired as a principal,” he said.
Also under Timmerman’s leadership, St. Paul has continued to broaden its students learning experiences in the classroom. For instance, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are now being taught how to speak in Spanish.
“We are one of the few (elementary) schools in the area that does that,” Timmerman said.
Timmerman said he doesn’t believe he will ever become a school administrator again, unless it’s on a part-time basis.
“Otherwise, I would have stayed here,” he said.
Instead, Timmerman said he might pursue a teaching career at a college and/or university.
“We’ll see what turns up,” he said. “Everything is pretty much up in the air right now. I don’t have a set plan in mind.”
Timmerman had spent the past 30 years working as a school administrator. Prior to that, he spent a number of years in the classroom, where he taught band, language arts, math and computer classes.
Timmerman fondly recalled when he started at St. Paul in 1977 as a band instructor.
“I still remember my first day teaching,” he said.
Timmerman went on to teach at Mater Dei High School in Breese for five years before he took a teaching job in the Webster Groves, Mo., school district, where he taught for a few more years.
He later moved back to Breese, and served as a principal and assistant superintendent of Elementary School District 12. After he retired from District 12, Timmerman was named principal at St. Paul in 2008.
He said coming to St. Paul “was a real nice experience” as he has enjoyed the beauty of both worlds — spending time with the students and their parents, while working closely with the teachers.
Despite the changes in technology and educational philosophies, the one thing that has remained constant over the years is the students. Timmerman said it never gets old watching a youngster discover something new.
“They are so eager to learn,” he said.