Bear Creek principal retires after 16 years
Bear Creek Elementary principal Cheryl Thim believes the school has earned a claim as a school of character during her time there.
“That is what I want to see continue after I retire,” Thim said.
Thim has been a teacher and administrator in the Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) system for 35 years, with the last 16 years spent as the principal at Bear Creek Elementary.
After graduating from Randallstown High School, Thim attended Frostburg
University for her undergraduate degree.
She got her special education Master’s degree at Loyola College and administrative supervision degree from Towson University.
“I taught in Baltimore City for the first three years of my career out of college,” Thim said.
“Then I was hired in Baltimore County,” she added.
Being a product of BCPS herself, Thim taught special education at Chase Elementar y for five years.
Thim was then promoted to department chairman of special education at Deep Creek Middle School.
Shortly after being hired at Meadowood Alternative School, Thim was hired as assistant principal at Dundalk Middle School.
She stood as principal at Dundalk Middle for four and half years.
“It was a huge learning curve; I enjoyed it,” Thim said.
“I felt that I wanted come back to elementary school because I felt removed from instruction,” she added.
Dealing with administrative duties made her miss the classroom, so she went back to college at Towson University.
She received her administrative and supervision certification.
Then she became principal at Bear Creek Elementar y and has been there ever since.
“We’ve seen a lot of change,” Thim said.
According to Thim, when she first started the percentage of poverty stricken families at Bear Creek Elementary was 33 percent; now it’s 72 percent.
“A lot of our children are facing difficult living situations in most cases,” Thim noted.
Ten years ago, Bear Creek Elementary became a Title One school.
Because of poverty levels, they were eligible to receive federal funding, which helps them purchase technology, materials, extended learning programs for the summer, additional staffing and universal breakfast.
Since Thim has been principal, Bear Creek has become Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support
Gold (PBIS) school winners, were a National Honors Society school, apart of the healthy school alliance and became a Green school.
“We were one of 10 elementary schools to pilot Spanish,” Thim added.
“I feel like despite the challenges of our families we have really held the standard high,” Thim said.
“We’ve kept the academic standards high,” she added.
Thim noted that she is really proud of the Honors Society and raising the bar for academics.
“We’ve done a lot for our school and community to make sure our kids are globally competitive citizens,” Thim said.
Although the school has accomplished many things despite the challenges it faces, Thim says “It’s just time to retire.”
In January 2017, Thim had a heart attack.
“It was stress related,” Thim said.
According to Thim, the job has become bigger than life.
“You’re responsible for the safety and security of all these children and adults in a ver y unsettling time in this society,” Thim said,
“Those things wear on you,” she added.
“I take my job seriously; I haven’t had a sound sleep on a Sunday in 35 years,” she noted.
Once retired, Thim hopes to see the high standards
that were put in place maintained.
“We have the most dedicated teaching staff,” Thim said. “I always want people to walk into Bear Creek and think, ‘what a nice place’.”
The students are nice, the teachers are nice and they help each other, according to Thim.
“I would like to see all the positive things that were brought in, that raised the bar, to continue,” Thim said. “It’s time for a new principal.”
“I take my job seriously; I haven’t had a sound sleep on a Sunday in 35 years.”
Bear Creek Elementary principal, Cheryl Thim, retires after 16 years at the school and 35 years with the Baltimore County school system.