‘Mr. Moore’ retiring after 37 years

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Ross Moore, Lonoke Primary School principal for the past 31 years, is retiring this year. He taught in the Lonoke School District for 37 years. (Photo by Mark Buffalo)

After 37 years, 31 of which were principal at Lonoke Primary School, Ross Moore has decided to call it a career.

Moore will retire when his contract expires at the end of June.

During his tenure at Lonoke, Moore taught Arkansas History, civics and American History at Lonoke Junior High from 1976-1980; Moore went to Lonoke High School in the fall of 1980, where he was the GCE (General Cooperative Education) coordinator and worked halftime in the office as an administrator.

“We didn’t have an assistant principal back then so I did some of those functions,” Moore said. He did that for two years before getting the “call” to be a full-time administrator in August 1982.

“Mr. Sagely called me one August morning and said ‘would you like to be principal at the primary school?’” Moore said, referring to former Lonoke superintendent Maurice Sagely. “I said yes.”

Moore said he thought he would be the high school principal at some point early on.

“I thought I would work with high school kids,” he said. “But it was [a perfect fit].”

Moore said he’s enjoyed seeing the students at the primary school learning.

“There is just something about them coming in to us and they didn’t have a lot of experiences, some of them,” he said. “Some of them had a lot of experiences.

“[It was] all those light bulbs when they come on,” Moore added. “When you go into a classroom and the teacher asks questions and the kids respond. It’s the good camaraderie between the teacher and the kids and the feel that we are making a difference for the kids.”

Moore said Lonoke is a diverse place.

“We have a huge spectrum of socio-economic levels,” he said. “It’s good to see we are making differences with kids that might not have had an opportunity to be successful without school. And we’re making a difference for them and they can be as successful as the child who is exposed to so much because the parents have that opportunity.”

Moore said the students begin to learn and take advantage of what school is giving them very quickly.

“Gosh, they are so eager to learn,” he said. “They are so appreciative of learning. That excites me. I love nothing more than being in the classroom and watching kids learn. That is what makes it so special about being a principal.”

Moore said he had opportunities to do different things in his career.

“But that is not what I wanted to do,” he said. “I wanted to be where the kids were, be where the teachers are.”

Moore said he has no regrets for being at the primary school for 31 years but will definitely miss some things when he’s gone.

“I’m going to miss contact with the kids, and the people that I work with,” Moore said. “I’m going to miss the kids the most.

“When you live in the town of the school where you work, I’ve gotten to be the principal of the mom and the dad and now the kids and I may be working on a third generation,” he added. “Getting to see those kids and make those relationships that you do with people and the trust that people have put in me … that has been a blessing to know that I had the opportunity to help their kids be successful.”

Moore is a 1971 graduate of Lonoke High School. He attended school here his entire time.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas and his master’s degree from the University of Arkansas.

During Moore’s career, he had worked for seven superintendents. They are Sagely, Charles Knox, Dee Human, Dwain East, Sharron Havens, John Tackett and now Suzanne Bailey.

Moore said he thanks the people of Lonoke for their support over the past 37 years.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the people of Lonoke in the capacity of being the principal at the primary school for all these years,” he said. “I truly believe you are a servant in this role or any role as a teacher.”

Moore and his wife of almost 33 years, Brenda, have two sons. Josh graduated in 2001 from Lonoke High School; Jordan graduated in 2006. Brenda taught for 38 years before retiring a year ago.

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