COLUMBIA — A note scribbled in teal marker sits on the windowsill of Principal Beverly Borduin’s office. It is a message from one student echoing the sentiments of hundreds of other students, staff and parents at Grant Elementary School.
“Thank you Ms. Borduin for all the work you do.”
After 35 years in education, 18 of those at Grant Elementary, Borduin announced her retirement Wednesday evening in an e-mail to parents and coworkers.
Borduin has been a prominent figure in Columbia Public Schools for the past 30 years. She worked at Blue Ridge Elementary School for 10 years and was assistant principal of West Boulevard Elementary School before she began teaching at Grant.
Borduin said she made the decision to retire because she wants to spend more time with her family.
“I just have some other things I would like to do," she said. "My mother is in poor health, I want to see my daughter run track her senior year of college, my son is going back to graduate work. I just feel like it’s the right time.”
While she is excited to be moving on and focusing more of her time at home, Borduin said her decision is bittersweet.
“I absolutely love my job. It’s very hard leaving," she said. "I’ve had a fantastic career with Columbia Public Schools.”
David Henry, the site facilitator of Adventure Club at Grant, has worked with Borduin for two and a half years. He said he is sad to see her go because of her compassion and work ethic.
Henry said the children weren’t the ones who took the news the hardest.
“The kids are sad and disappointed, but it’s the parents who are the most upset.”
The playground area, where parents wait to pick up their children after school, was buzzing Thursday evening in light of Borduin's announcement.
“We are so bummed,” said Kelly Babcock, mother of three Grant Elementary students.
Babcock said Borduin’s approachability and interaction with parents and students are her best qualities.
“She knows every kid within a few weeks of school starting. She opens car doors for kids when she probably has a million other things to do. She’ll work lunchroom and playground duty," Babcock said. "She’s just awesome.”
While she may no longer be principal of Grant Elementary, Borduin said she wants to maintain an active role in education after her retirement.
“There are other ways to serve public education,” said Borduin. “I’m devoted to keep working for the children of Columbia.”
Grant Elementary parent Mary Phillips said she is sad to see Borduin leave her position, but is confident Borduin will not become a stranger at Grant.
“I know she will volunteer and help out as much as she can," Phillips said. "We’ll definitely still see her.”
Borduin will finish out Grant’s centennial year and continue to work through June. She said her main focus will be to finish out the year strong and have a hands-on approach to acclimating her replacement when he or she is chosen.
“I want to teach them about the school and really help get them involved," Borduin said. “To experience Grant school is more important than to introduce Grant school.”