• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Rutledge named principal at Frankfort school

Longtime Southside Elementary educator Stacy Rutledge cannot remember a time in her life when she didn't want to be in the classroom. "It's because I loved school so much as a kid," said Rutledge. "I loved my teachers. I loved going to school. And it was just what I felt like I was ... meant to do." Rutledge has been a teacher, curriculum coach and academic dean during her 18 years at Southside. Those responsibilities gave her "lots of great experiences" and helped prepare her to become the new principal at Bridgeport Elementary School in Franklin County. It was the only school where she applied to become a head principal next school year. "It's a great school with lots of opportunities for growth, and it just seemed like a good fit for me," said Rutledge. She said leaving her Southside family has been the hardest thing about succeeding Martha Lail, principal at Bridgeport Elementary for the last 23 years. "They are my family," said Rutledge of Southside's faculty and staff. "All my friends work there. And so (leaving them) that's been extremely difficult, but I know that to continue to grow (professionally) I'm going to have to step outside of my comfort zone..." Because her children, Jacob and Ella, will be fifth-graders at Southside Elementary next school year, Rutledge will still have a connection to Southside for one more year. "I think it'll be tough (for them) in August when they go back and I'm not going with them," she acknowledged. Of her career at Southside Elementary, Rutledge said, "It's been a natural progression. ...probably the ideal route (to prepare me to become a head principal) as far as the level of responsibility..." Leaving the classroom to become curriculum coach was "pretty tough" because Rutledge really liked getting to know her students and their families. Yet, being able to focus on curriculum and helping teachers become more effective in the classroom was a chance to "impact a greater number of students," said Rutledge, who lives in Versailles with her husband of 15 years, Chris, and their two kids. Asked why she has remained an educator, Rutledge said, "I like the challenge. I love to learn ... Education - it keeps you on your toes. And you're constantly learning. There's always something new. There's always something new to learn. And so I love that aspect of it ... "You have to keep up with the changes, and so I like that challenge..."

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