She tried to blink her tears away, while taking a deep breath, Linda Carter, shifted her attention to the things she had to get done before July, when she would retire as principal of Freeport High School.
“Am I ready to let go,” she asked hesitatingly. “I am taking a new pathway. I’ll never really let go, once a teacher, always a teacher. Even though I am a principal, in my heart I’m always a teacher. I’ll never lose that piece of myself,” her voice trembled with emotion.
Completing her fifth year as principal of FHS and stepping out with 37 years in education, she will officially retire in July, when, now assistant principal, Joseph Mille will take the helm and take on the role of new principal.
“I’ve always dreamed of being principal,” Mille said, with a smile. “My goal is to be principal of Freeport High School for the next twenty-five years.”
Though a bittersweet moment for Carter, her retirement means she will have more time to spend with family and friends. She also hopes to volunteer at her church. Attributing her time at FHS as a part of her heart and soul, she says, her role as principal allowed her to interact the different personalities of students and fellow co-workers and see the beauty in everyone’s unique qualities.
“I will miss my daily interactions with students and teachers because my time as principal helped me to understand human nature better,” Carter said.
Mille says he is confident in taking on the new leadership role as principal, adding it was Carter’s mentoring over the last five years that has prepared him for his first day.
“I have a very special place in my heart for Principal Carter because we have an excellent relationship,” Mille said. “Carter has been a mother and a friend at every capacity. She has helped me become a better colleague, friend and man.”
Mille hopes to continue Carter’s philosophies while building relationships with students and faculty. His first priority is to work alongside colleagues and the community to what’s best for the students, while continuing to grow school’s programs.
“Just like principal Carter said, ‘if I put the students first, I believe everything will take care of itself,’ but there’s always going to be challenges that should be tackled head-on,” said Mille.
Prior to becoming assistant principal at FHS, Mille worked as the special education teacher at Freeport High School for six years and later became assistant principal.
“I want to leave a legacy and I want to be remembered as the guy that people could always go to, who’s honest, sincere and caring,” said Mille. “My door is always open and I do not turn people away because I want to try to help the community to the best of my ability and remain positive in all situations.”