New Marcia Buker Elementary School Principal Troy Kendrick on Tuesday at the school in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

RICHMOND — Troy Kendrick has spent more than 30 years in the classroom and as a coach.

Now, he thinks it is time for a new role — principal.

Kendrick, who taught fourth- and fifth-grade at Marcia Buker Elementary School in Richmond, was hired to lead the school in mid-June. He replaces Tom McKee, who decided to go back into the classroom as a math teacher at Hall-Dale Middle School.

“I’ve been in the classroom a long time, coaching a long time, and looking for the next thing to do,” Kendrick said. “Not that I couldn’t have stayed in the classroom. I enjoyed that, but being invested in the community and doing the right thing, I can have a positive impact on students, staff and the community in the principal position.”

Kendrick got his start in the classroom while he was a student at Thomas College.

He originally studied business, but started coaching and substitute teaching on the side. Kendrick enjoyed it so much he decided to change his path of study. He graduated with a business education program degree but went right to work as an education technician in the same Richmond schools he attended while growing up. He was working in Richmond schools before they joined Regional School Unit 2.

After working in that role for a couple of years and coaching a multitude of sports, Kendrick became a math teacher at Richmond Middle School, a job he had for “around 15 or 16” years before becoming the assistant principal of the middle school for a year. In 2009, he went back to school to get his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Maine. He worked at Buker Elementary School for the 2009-10 school year and has been there ever since.

“I would say at this age, they are really curious and inquisitive,” Kendrick said of elementary students. “This is obviously my first year as an admin, but I’ve been in the classroom and you can really capture them with an interesting lesson or fact. I really enjoyed that part, where they get excited to learn.”

Kendrick has lived in Richmond his whole life. He and his wife, Kimberly, have two children: Caitlin, who will be a junior at St. Joseph’s College, and Nathan, who will be a senior at Maine Maritime Academy.

He said Richmond is a “wonderful place to raise a family” and hopes to incorporate that aspect into his time as a principal, saying his role and knowledge within the community will help. Upon his hiring, Kendrick said he reached out to Richmond Town Manager Laurisa Loon, one of his former students, as well as police Chief James Donnell, and has made a working effort to reach the parents and families.

“It takes a community — the old saying, ‘It takes a community to raise children’ — it’s true,” he said. “I’ve been in the school long enough where I am getting next generations.”

During his time as an elementary school teacher, Kendrick also coached varsity girls soccer for Richmond High School. Coaching is one of the aspects he will miss the most upon taking his new position, calling it a “tough piece” of the decision. He enjoyed working with the younger students in the morning and then heading to the high school to work with the older bunch.

Richmond High School girls soccer coach Troy Kendrick speaks with his team before practice Oct. 31, 2017, at the school. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

He said the business of this year has kept his mind off of missing the soccer season.

“I really want to make sure we hit the ground running and are off to a good start,” Kendrick said.

RSU 2 Superintendent Tonya Arnold shared a highlight from the school board’s interviewing committee, mentioning  his strong ties to the town and “passion (to) stay there as he transitions to a leadership role.”

“The interviewing committee was impressed with his excellent relationship with students, staff and the community,” Arnold wrote. “His recommendations were strong, including depth of elementary experience, knowledge of effective teaching and learning practices and ability to support students so they can meet classroom expectations.”

Reactions on the Richmond Family and Friend’s Facebook page were similar, as one person posted the letter Kendrick sent to families introducing himself. As of noon Wednesday, the post received almost 250 “likes” and 97 comments congratulating him, with most commenters calling him “a great person” for the role.

Kendrick said he is ready for the start of the school year and looks forward to seeing the student’s “smiling faces,” whenever that may be.

“We are going to keep our fingers crossed, whatever the situation is,” he said. “I know my staff will make it work and make it a good experience for all of us, whatever life deals us.”

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