When Dale Telmer looks back at her time in the Westbury School District, it’s easy to identify what she’ll miss the most.
“The children. I’ll miss being with the children and seeing their growth,” said the principal of Dryden Street School.
Telmer, who has been in education since 1967, retired at the end of the school year, marking the end of her 16-year tenure as principal at Dryden Street School. Having gotten her start in New York City, Telmer said she’s seen early childhood education change dramatically over the years. However, what hasn’t changed are the needs that children have.
“What children had to do 16 years ago in kindergarten and pre-K is not what we’re doing today,” Telmer said. “But you still have to understand the needs of children in this developmental age. They come in with different needs and you have to address them. If you don’t do that, they’ll never succeed.”
Early childhood is a “special” time for both children and their parents, Telmer said, a time when educators need to be very supportive. In Westbury, children come in with diversified needs and Telmer said one of her main points of emphasis was working with children at every level and helping them move forward. She said that one of the highlights of her career has been helping teachers become more adept at providing support and helping to equip children to become effective learners.
“I have helped teachers become stronger in their profession and to understand the needs of children and their parents,” Telmer said. “Students who came out timid and shy have left much stronger in their ability and feeling they can succeed and they will because they found the support they needed.”
And though she’s retired, she’s not done helping to provide that support system. Telmer said she hopes to continue helping younger teachers know about effective teaching methods.
“I would like to come back and share my expertise with doing observations and working with new teachers and helping them plan successful lessons on a part-time basis,” Telmer said. “I want to work with teachers and see their needs.”