By Tim Priester
As Tuesday morning’s announcements for Eagle Ridge Elementary echoed throughout the school and on the laptops of students learning virtually, there was a slightly different tone to the daily notes.
Typically, Principal Thomas “Rick” Redshaw happily reads through the school updates with his unique style of humor; however, on this day, they had a melancholy feeling as he tried to hold back tears while sharing his future plans with his beloved students.
“I will be on the beach somewhere,” Redshaw said of some of his post-retirement dreams. Although he loves the classroom feel, he knows it’s time for a break and a change of scenery after more than 38 years as a professional educator for Broward County Public Schools.
Redshaw has spent the final 12 years of his career in education as a proud principal. At Eagle Ridge for the past five, and before that, at Park Trails Elementary in Parkland.
That time and his dedication have allowed him to connect with members of the two communities and to help shape the young minds that walked the halls of both schools over the years.
Assistant Principal Lindsey Sierra said Principal Redshaw made everyone laugh, and his love for teaching and children came across in everything he did.
“He painted murals on the walls for inspiration, messages of hope and love as children walked up the stairs, and ate lunch with the kids in the cafe every day,” Sierra said.
Originally, Redshaw had planned to step down at the end of last school year. Still, like many things, Covid-19 changed his plans because he and the district wanted to make sure the school was not having to transition with a new principal while also dealing with many of the unknowns that come with virtual school learning and the start of school during a pandemic.
The impacts from the pandemic not only changed the landscape of school for everyone at Eagle Ridge and Redshaw’s original plans for retirement; it also changed the celebration of Redshaw’s last day at school.
On Wednesday, students and parents said goodbye to the retiring principal during the parade through the Eagle Ridge parking lot, where the rain couldn’t stop them from one last chance to say goodbye.
“He has some big shoes to fill,” said Sierra of Redshaw’s replacement.
Finding someone won’t be easy, but the district has already formed a committee to begin the search.
In the meantime, Assistant Principal Lindsey Sierra will be doing her best to keep the kids informed with the morning announcements.
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