Friday Feature: Dr. Beth Renth
by Mary Ann Mitchell, Public Relations & Communications Coordinator
Before she retires at the end of this calendar year, Dr. Beth Renth is sharing the knowledge she gained during her 22-year career as principal of Worden Elementary with others, by wrapping up her time in District #7 as a principal trainer and mentor for the new elementary principals in the district. She stepped down as principal at Worden in May.
“I do a lot of visiting the schools and walk through with them the different components that are important for principals, whether it be district procedures or even things like emergency plans – things they may not have had experience within District 7 yet.”
With many new elementary principals in the district, her insight and years of experience has been valuable.
“They have really welcomed me with open arms, and we’ll talk through things. But they also do things differently. They are their own person and their own leader, but I am there to help them figure out what is best, especially for the kids.”
Dr. Renth began her career in District #7 in 1995 as a teacher, spending two years at the old Edwardsville Middle School. She left for a year to take a job as a principal in another district, but quickly returned to Edwardsville Middle School as the assistant principal for two years before accepting the role as Worden principal.
Ironically, Dr. Renth did not have plans to become a principal, but one of the previous districts she had worked for asked her to come in as principal and it’s a role she never left.
“I knew I was a good teacher; I just didn’t know if I was going to be a good principal. So that was scary at the time, but now I don’t know where the time has gone. Suddenly, I’m looking down on retirement. But it’s been great. I was able to impact more than just those 20 students in my classroom and impact a larger group of students.”
Those students have also been what’s she has enjoyed the most.
“I’ve told people over the years that, depending on Worden’s enrollment, I have 285 children. Three of them belong to me and the other 282 I borrow, but they are still mine. Secondly, there are just a lot of great people in this district. I’ve made some great friends, who also are committed to the kids.”
Her investment in the District #7 community is what has kept her here for nearly three decades. Two of her own children have graduated from Edwardsville High School, while one is still at EHS. Her husband was also an Edwardsville police officer.
“This has just always been home. And I’ve also felt, and still feel, like Worden is a family.”
Dr. Renth is looking forward to more family time in retirement, especially spending more time with her own children.
“I’d like to be able to visit them and get to know each of them as adults.”
As for what she will miss, it is the energy of being in a school building.
“Even now when I walk into a building, I feel that energy and it energizes me. I am going to have to find something to keep that energy going because it is so incredibly special.”
It might be hard to sum up a career like Dr. Renth’s, but in short, she has made an impact.
“Whether it was with the students or the teachers. It has always been important for me to be driven towards goals. I feel like I have met many of those and contributed to make a difference for someone, either a student, a teacher, or a staff member. And that is what is important.” #d7proud