The Pryor Times

April 17, 2014

Leadership changes at Lincoln

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — Lincoln Elementary School's 600 students will say farewell to Principal Terry Sinor at the end of this school year.

Sinor is retiring at the end of her seventh year as principal at Lincoln. Prior to that, she was a teacher at Washington Elementary School for seven years, then principal there for seven years.

“It's all for the love of the kids,” said Sinor. “And they are what I will miss most about the job. I may have to come visit just to fill my hug quota.”

Looking back on her time as principal, what she's most proud of is the Leader in Me Program.

“This program has changed everything. Above all this has helped students take responsibility for their education and their behavior. They are also actively helping one-another,” said Sinor, sounding like a proud parent.

“The kids are proactive,” said Sinor with a laugh, using one of the Leader in Me buzz words. “It's not just about vocabulary. We teach them that, but the behavior that goes with it is a much larger part. It's creating better students who will grow up to be better citizens.”

When asked about the biggest hurdle in her career, she couldn't think of a single one.

“The teachers here are absolutely wonderful. Our school board has been so so helpful, they have an 'ask and ye shall receive' mentality. I couldn't ask for more,” said Sinor.

If she had to name a challenge, however, she said it was getting enough time with the kids.

“I did cafeteria duty every single day, because I wanted to. Too often principals get weighed down with administrative duties and don't get the face time with the students. Ideally, I wanted to see every student every day,” said Sinor.

Sinor said she is thankful to the school board for naming her assistant principal Karen Cook as the woman to fill her shoes.

“I've been here all these years, I hoped I would have some say in who replaced me. I wanted to walk out and not worry about whose hands my students are in. I have no worries about Ms. Cook, I am very comfortable with her,” said Sinor.

Sinor said working at the school, fellow teachers and even students become like family.

“My advice that I'm passing on to Ms. Cook is to remember that family is important. This job is all consuming, I felt like I had to always be here because they were like my family. But we also have families at home and it's important to remember to spend time with them.”

That's exactly what Sinor plans to do with her retirement, spend time with family.

She and her husband purchased a recreational vehicle and plan to do some traveling.

“I'm looking forward to continuing this journey,” said Cook, who will replace Sinor as principal at the start of the next school year.

Cook has been at Lincoln three years, but worked across town at Roosevelt Elementary School for 19.

Cook said her teaching philosophies and leadership style closely mirrors her predecessor, which should result in a smooth transition for students and staff.

“Working with her has been a great experience. I feel blessed to have been able to work with her,” said Cook, who added that her thoughts on moving forward are just that she “wants to do it right.”

Principals and administrators are really just secretaries for the teachers, Cook said is one thing she's learned from Sinor.

“When she's talking to a child who has made poor choices she is always so patient. She puts it back on them, asking them what they could have done differently. I have never seen her talk down to anyone. Respect is hugely important,” said Cook of other lessons learned form Sinor.

Cook is continuing focus on the school's wellness program. Simply put, if you feel better you do better, Cook said.

“I am excited to end this school year with a bang, then welcome Kirk Emerine to our building next year,” said Cook. “He is an energetic young teacher, with a heart for health and wellness so I think he'll fit right in.”