ROWLEY — Rowley’s Pine Grove Elementary School is saying goodbye to one of its educators this month. After nine years of service as the assistant principal, Margot Lacey will be moving into the principal’s office at Leverett Elementary School, just north of Amherst.
During her time at Pine Grove, Lacey has become both a confident administrator and a beloved fixture of the school, according to Pine Grove principal Christine Kneeland.
“She’s an incredibly hard worker, she cares deeply about the children, she’s formed unbelievable relationships with the children and their families,” Kneeland said. “She knows every child by their first name … She’s so ready to have her own building and be a principal, I couldn’t be more thrilled for her. She’s going to be a real loss for Pine Grove.”
A committee will review applications for a new assistant principal in the next weeks, with the aim of filling the position by July 1. Nearly 60 applications had been received as of Friday morning.
Lacey will be starting at Leverett on July 1 as well, setting up the school year with grant writing and teacher assignments and acquainting herself with the community, according to Superintendent Bob Mahler.
“It’s a difficult job,” Mahler said. “You have many stakeholders and the demands of the state and federal initiatives come right across your desk. Maintaining a vibrant school that relates well to children and families in the community is a challenge, and it takes a special person to make that all happen and make it successful.”
Serving about 120 students each year, Leverett Elementary is roughly a third of the size of Pine Grove, which Lacey anticipates will be both a blessing and a challenge.
“It goes without saying that when you have smaller numbers, you get to know children better and all of the things that go along with that,” she said. “But sometimes you have to make choices, whether it’s budgetary choices or manpower choices. When you have a smaller community, they’re just not available.”