As students filed through the doors of Lost River Elementary School for the start of classes Wednesday, new Principal Beth Croslin hoped to lift spirits with a smile and some kind words.
After the morning assembly, she quickly stepped out of the gym and into the hallway to FaceTime her husband and check on her son Reed, who was also having a big day.
“He is starting kindergarten,” Croslin said.
Her son and daughter, who was starting the fourth grade, were settling into their classes at Natcher Elementary School on Wednesday.
“He’s excited,” Croslin said. “Kindergarten won’t hold him down.”
All told, Lost River Elementary is expecting 550 to 600 students to start school this week. Before Jennings Creek Elementary opened its doors last year, Lost River used to be larger, at one point reaching an enrollment of more than 800 students, Croslin said.
A large portion of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and the school offers free breakfast and lunch to all students.
For Croslin, her new job as Lost River’s principal marks a return to working with elementary students. Croslin has 16 years of teaching experience under her belt but was previously an assistant principal at Henry F. Moss Middle School. She was hired to her current job in May.
On Wednesday, she spent the morning welcoming parents and students in the school’s main hall. Introducing herself to students during morning assembly, Croslin touted the school’s students and teachers and said that both would lead to “the best school year ever.”
“The first day of school is the most exciting day of the whole school year,” Croslin said. “The parents are a little nervous. The kids are excited, and so our goal today was to get everybody in, get them really excited for a new school year, a new principal and get the parents reassured that we’re going to take good care of their children.”
For Chastity London, the parent of new kindergarten student McKenna London, the day marked a milestone as she sent her last child off to start school.
“I’m kind of freaked out,” London said, anticipating “empty nest syndrome.”
London said Croslin helped put her mind at ease.
“We went to open house, and she was very welcoming and good with the kids. We should have a good year,” London said.
Raven Bunton came to see her son Tyshawn Slaughter off to first grade. She started the school year with fewer doubts.
“I’m excited to see him go,” she joked. “I know he’ll be great in first grade.”
After starting her teaching career at Warren Elementary, Croslin spent her career serving in various roles throughout the Warren Central feeder system. After teaching at Warren Elementary for nine years, she moved up to become the school’s intervention coordinator. She then served as the intervention coordinator and later curriculum coordinator at Moss Middle School. She spent three years as the school’s assistant principal.
Croslin is just one of eight new principals in the school district hired to fill positions vacated by either retirements or employees leaving for new opportunities.
Along with Croslin, they include Joey Norman at Warren Central High School, Michael Wix at South Warren Middle School, Jonathan Williams at Warren East High School, Jennifer Jenkins at Warren Elementary, Leslie Shultz at Jody Richards Elementary, Wes Cottongim at Cumberland Trace Elementary and Jeanie Hopkins at Oakland Elementary.
Describing the school’s vision, Croslin said staff strive to build relationships with students to help them unlock their potential.
“We try really hard to form relationships with our students and understand them ... get to know where they come from so that we can bring out the best in them,” Croslin said.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.