- Cleburne Independent School District
Gator Goodbye Being Planned for Retiring Adams Principal
A Gator Goodbye is being planned for Adams Elementary Principal Dawn Hitt, who is retiring at the end of this month following five years as the campus leader.
Hitt began contemplating retirement at the start of this school year, listing six reasons—and a seventh on the way—as the basis for her decision.
“We have six grandchildren, including twins who just turned two, and are awaiting a seventh,” Hitt said. “We and our children and their families all live next to each other on neighboring properties. We’re like a commune and my husband and I are very engaged grandparents.”
“It’s hard to find the energy to be on the go with 413 students every day, then go home and do the same with six littles who need me,” Hitt said. “Looking back now, I see I was ready to retire. It’s not been an easy decision, that’s for sure. This is the only thing I’ve ever done—it’s who I am, including these last five years as Mrs. Hitt the Principal.”
Hitt has served 29 years in education, including 21 years in the classroom. Prior to coming to CISD as a principal in 2015, she was an elementary assistant principal with Stephenville ISD. Much of her career was spent with Burnet ISD.
As she looks back over her years as the leader of Adams’ Gator Nation, she is proud of her students and staff and what they have achieved.
“Probably my favorite moment was when we became a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School,” she said. “I’m such a believer in that initiative—it is such a powerful program. I ultimately became an educator because of a handful of teachers who took the time to establish a relationship with me. I didn’t see a whole lot of that from teachers growing up. Educators were not encouraged to do that back then. I often wondered what made those particular teachers so special to me, and it was because they were using those same principles that are in Capturing Kids’ Hearts. They took the time to know me, and in the process, captured my heart and inspired my love for learning.”
“I wanted to be ‘that’ teacher who made that same difference,” Hitt said. “That was my goal. I wanted every kid to love school, my class and to experience the joy of learning. I also wanted parents to have a positive experience, and confidence in placing their students in my care. Parents need to have a good school year, too.”
“I credit my husband for encouraging me to teach,” she said. “He was my boyfriend in college and kept telling me, ‘why don’t you become a teacher—you love working with kids.’ And he was right. Working with elementary kids is so fun.”
Dr. Kristi Rhone, CISD assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, says Hitt’s commitment to CKH has been evident in her leadership at Adams.
“As a new administrator to the District, in my first visit to her campus, it was evident Mrs. Hitt had fostered a very positive culture at Adams,” Rhone said. “Her willingness to be flexible and positive during these times of COVID has been very much appreciated. She set the tone for the great start, and return to learning, at her campus.”
“We are happy that she will have more time with her family and grandchildren,” Rhone said. “But she will be missed in CISD.”
With her retirement date now looming, Hitt says her feelings are bittersweet.
“This year we chose to do our morning Gator Rallies through Zoom, with students engaged from their classrooms rather than being all together in the gym,” she said. “This has led to a whole new dimension as to how I am perceived by students. Now our pre-K and kindergarten students will stop me in the hall and say, ‘I saw you on TV!’ I’ve gone from the school principal to the lady on the television. COVID has made me a campus celebrity.”
“I’m going to miss this school family,” Hitt said. “I felt that family welcome and love the moment I got here. They say ‘once a Gator, always a Gator.’ It’s true, and I will take that with me.”