Bear Creek prin­ci­pal retires af­ter 16 years

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By CHAR­LENE MAYO cmayo@ches­pub.com

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.”

COURTESY PHOTO

Bear Creek El­e­men­tary prin­ci­pal, Cheryl Thim, retires af­ter 16 years at the school and 35 years with the Bal­ti­more County school sys­tem.

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