, Port Arthur, Texas

October 7, 2013

Longtime PAISD principal reflects after retirement

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — To discover where Emily Moore’s tenure with the Port Arthur Independent School District began, you have to look back a few years.

“I started at Tyrrell 60 years ago as a frightened 5-year-old,” Moore said.

On Sept. 30, that apprehensive 5-year-old retired after a 26-year career with PAISD, the last 10 of them as principal of Tyrrell Elementary.

“I cried all day Tuesday,” Moore said. “I’m having a really hard time.”

Moore began her career at Tyrrell as a student teacher, eventually getting a job teaching third grade, or “the best grade in the world,” as she called it. During the course of Moore’s teaching career, three different principals called her into the office in which she would one day work and tried to persuade her to return to school and obtain her mid-management certification . But Moore wasn’t interested.

“I told all three of them, ‘But I love my classroom,’” Moore said.

In spite of her protests, one of Moore’s principals eventually made an appointment for her at Lamar University, where she earned her mid-management certificate.

“It was an adjustment,” Moore said.

Although Moore now resides in Bridge City, the Port Arthur native never wanted to stray far from her hometown. And excluding a one-year teaching stint in Pearland, and a brief two months in Bridge City schools, she never did.

“I love a multicultural setting — I think that’s the real world,” Moore said. “When you’re in the right place and you’re doing the right thing, you just find a lot of joy in it.”

Moore was offered a job as assistant principal of Tyrrell Elementary in 2000. When her predecessor retired three years later, she took over.

As deeply as Moore loves her profession, in June, she decided the time was right to step down.

“I’m not leaving because I don’t like what I do — I love my job, and I hate leaving,” Moore said. “But I feel like the time is right. I want to lead a less stressful life.”

After consulting with PAISD Superintendent Mark Porterie, Moore decided to remain at her post until Sept. 30. During that time, she was shadowed by Gloria Dodson, a former secretary at Memorial High School who took Moore’s place as principal on Tuesday.

“When I think about Tyrrell, I think about Emily Moore,” Porterie said.  “Every time you spoke to Emily Moore, it was about Tyrrell School. She put every ounce of energy to maintain the school and keep it what it is, and we are going to miss her so.”

However, Porterie said that Moore has left the school in capable hands with Dodson.

 “Gloria Dodson is going to carry on the strong values that Tyrrell has,”   he said. “She’s smart, she’s dynamic, she’s energetic, and we are looking forward to what she has to bring to Tyrrell.”

Similarly, Moore isn’t worried about leaving the school in Dodson’s care. She and her husband have already planned two vacations — one in two weeks, one in November — and she is looking forward to filling in her days with her five grandchildren and her elderly mother.

But, her heart will always remain with PAISD.

“I had a great, wonderful career, and a gazillion opportunities that I may not have had otherwise,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful place.”


Twitter: @ErinnPA