Veteran Hamilton City Schools Principal Mary Ann Hazlett is retiring after 32 years with the Butler County school system. Hazlett was most recently principal of Riverview Elementary. Staffers and students there recently presented her with a plaque, flowers and other gifts to honor her service. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

Beloved Hamilton school principal retires after 32 years

Mary Anne Hazlett began teaching at Van Buren Elementary 32 years ago and as she climbed the ladder of school leadership she helped mold thousands of children in various Hamilton city communities.

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A recent farewell ceremony at Hazlett’s Riverview Elementary brought some tears but also laughter in the wake of what she describes as a hard choice to leave her life’s work passion.

“It was a very difficult decision to retire,” said Hazlett. “I certainly have enjoyed working with the professionals in the school community and will miss them very much.”

“But I am excited to see what this next chapter of my life will be. I jokingly asked the students what they think I should do when I retire. They’ve come up with some very good suggestions including one student who said I should get a job at McDonald’s so that he can come by and see me every morning,” she said smiling.

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A native of the Lindenwald community and a graduate of Hamilton’s Badin High School, Hazlett was teacher of the year in Hamilton City Schools in 2002 and earned her first principal’s job at Jefferson Elementary and later moved on to Harrison Elementary. When that school was closed she took over Riverview Elementary where she has been the leader for the last six years.

Hamilton Schools Superintendent Tony Orr described Hazlett as the “the heart of Riverview Elementary.”

“Like a mother who protects her cubs, Mary Anne has been the watchful eye that oversees the children of Riverview. While she has encouraged improved academic performance from her students, Mary Anne has also expected students to exhibit positive, respectful behavior and a sense of caring for one another,” said Orr. “Hamilton will truly miss Mary Anne’s leadership.”

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Hazlett reflected on the sweeping changes in the Hamilton Schools during more than three decades of her involvement.

“The most obvious change in Hamilton Schools would be the addition of the brand new elementary buildings that were completed in the past six and seven years,” she said.

“It was sad to see the old buildings go there were so many good memories associated with those buildings in their architecture. However the new buildings are state-of-the-art and have developed a sense of community pride for the new students who get to attend them.”

She said Hamilton’s next generation of education is in good hands.

“As the years go on many of the faces have changed to younger fresher faces. It’s been interesting having new young teachers that are the same age as my own children working with me. I love their dedication and enthusiasm and creativity.”

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