March 23. 2014 9:08PM

Belmont elementary school principal ready for her next step

Union Leader Correspondent

BELMONT — After 34 years as an elementary school educator and administrator in Belmont, Canterbury and Manchester, Belmont Elementary School Principal Emily Spear is stepping down.

Or, from Spear’s point of view, stepping up.

“I have been working toward my doctorate in education and I look forward to following one of my lifelong dreams. That dream is to help teach and support the careers of new educators, and perhaps future school administrators, by teaching at the college level,” said Spear, who has been principal at Belmont Elementary School for the past 17 years.

“Although I will desperately miss the teachers, students, parents, and community members of Belmont, I am anxiously looking forward to my next adventure in education. I am grateful for everything I have learned from working in education so far and to those who have contributed to my learning, I hope to have the opportunity to share that with future educators.”

Spear served for eight years as an interpreter and tutor for the Manchester Program for the Hearing and Language Impaired based at the Green Acres School. She also worked at Memorial High School and Southside Middle School in Manchester, where she used sign language to communicate with students and supported their academics and speech services.

She also served for seven years as fourth-grade teacher at Belmont Elementary School, and served two years as the school’s assistant principal. While holding those two positions she also served as the Shaker Regional School District’s K-12 language arts curriculum coordinator.

“My greatest joy in education has been supporting the learning of students and teachers,” she said. “Watching the ‘light go on’ for children is as good as it gets for an educator, as is helping teachers learn new strategies that support students’ learning.

“I take great pride in the professionalism and dedication of the staff members at Belmont Elementary School, Spear continued. “It has been my honor to act as their principal and watch them grow and perfect their practice for the benefit of student learning. I have learned a great deal from them, just watching them teach has helped me understand the learning process, as well as outstanding teaching practices. They have taught me so much.”

Spear said she is proud that Belmont Elementary School has been a Blue Ribbon School with the New Hampshire Partners in Education for volunteerism for 27 consecutive years, with residents donating more than 8,000 hours of volunteer time each year.

“I am very proud that parents and community members take that kind of an active role in the children’s education,” she said.

“Without this kind of support the school would never be such an outstanding place to learn and grow.”