Family, friends and employees from schools across McCracken county and the district office came together to acknowledge and thank outgoing Superintendent Nancy Waldrop.
The county hosted a retirement reception Thursday afternoon in the central board office. Waldrop announced plans in December to retire at the end of her current contract on June 30. She signed a four-year agreement, which pays $145,000 per year, that began on July 1, 2010, when she succeeded Tim Heller, who retired that year.
"I'm most proud of the people of McCracken County Schools," she said. "I leave the district with a great leadership team and a board that always delivers our goal of creating and maintaining opportunities for students."
Waldrop previously worked nine years as the assistant superintendent of administration and personnel. Before joining McCracken County schools, Waldrop spent four years as director of the Paducah Public Schools' Head Start program.
"My educational life has come full circle," she said. "I started here and now I'm retiring from McCracken County Schools."
Waldrop said she is most proud of the completion of the large-scale construction project and a successful first year at McCracken County High School, which brought together Lone Oak, Heath and Reidland high schools.
"The school serves as a regional and national landmark," she said. "That educational vision is already at work. We've had a tremendously successful first year."
She also emphasized the district's academic rankings and the expansion of student opportunities despite annual funding reductions on the state level. Board member Don Heine pointed to Waldrop's legacy as directly tied to the recognition as a distinguished district.
Assistant Superintendent Heath Cartwright said, "With all the responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of a superintendent she never lost her passion to help children."
Waldrop said her retirement plans are open but include spending more time with family and at Fountain Avenue United Methodist Church, where her husband is pastor. She said after her tenure as superintendent is complete her life will remain focused on children.
"Educating children was my first and still is my great love," she said.
The McCracken County Board of Education selected Lyon County Superintendent Quin Sutton as the district's next leader following a three-month search during a meeting in March. His four-year contract, at the same salary, will begin July 1.
Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.