Longleaf Elementary School principal retires early
Arlene Bodden wasn't scheduled to retire until June 2014.
But with her husband already retired, and travel and grandchildren beckoning, Bodden decided to end her 36-year run as a Pasco County educator a year early. She told district officials her plans late Friday.
"I waited until my students were all gone, and then I waited until my staff was all gone. Then I made the call," said Bodden, 58, who opened Longleaf Elementary as principal eight years ago. "I don't do goodbyes very well."
Bodden has taught at several schools in the district, sometimes alongside her older sister, Linda McCarthy, who also is retiring this year as principal of Hudson Elementary School. McCarthy, 63, had been scheduled to leave this year.
Bodden worked at Richey Fundamental, Moon Lake and Cotee River elementary schools as a teacher, and was principal at Fox Hollow Elementary before moving to Longleaf. She said she felt fortunate to have been able to have a career in "what I was meant to do." But now the time was right to do other things in life.
"I'm not running from anything," she said. "I'm running to. ... It's going to be interesting."
The district has yet to advertise the Longleaf job. It also has principal job vacancies at Seven Oaks, Cypress, and Fox Hollow elementary schools.