About Mrs. Finn
Teri Finn is returning to her small-town roots as the new principal of Hamilton Elementary.
Finn, who takes over her new role on May 1st, is the product of small schools in Mount Morris, N.Y. (Her graduating class had only 29 members.) She also served as principal of a small school, Perry Elementary.
“I originally came to Loudoun from being a principal in a small school in upstate New York, south of Buffalo. There were 300 students in that school. The school was the heartbeat of the community. Most of the families that were there were there for several generations.”
Finn comes to Hamilton after serving as principal of Sterling Elementary since January 2007. She said she was happy to transfer to a larger school with more programs and a more diverse student body. “I’ve experienced that and now I’m looking for a change again. I’m kind of headed back to where I came from… “I kind of want the small-town feel again.”
Finn said she is proud of the work she has done at Sterling. “Really developing the mission at Sterling; working with the students, their families and the teachers to help the students be successful. We really, really tried to do that.”
Being Sterling’s principal also reinforced a lesson for Finn.
All students can learn. It does not matter where they come from, what anybody’s home life is; all students should learn and they should be held to that standard…Coming into a diverse population; sometimes you almost want to help too much. It’s nice to help, but if you hold students to a high set of expectations and provide them with a rigorous curriculum, they will rise to the expectation.
“You can do it in a nice, professional manner and they will want to rise to that expectation.”
Jerry Hill, the retired principal of Ball’s Bluff Elementary (and a former assistant principal at Sterling) will take over Sterling Elementary’s reins for the remainder of the school year.
“It’s bittersweet,” Finn said of leaving Sterling. “The decision was a hard one. I’m sad to leave Sterling, but I’m happy to make new friends and meet new people. I’m thankful to get in there for a few weeks to see how the school day operates and meet the students, families and teachers before the summer starts.”
Finn knows Hamilton’s 159 students will provide a contrast to the 556-member student population she has been working with at Sterling. She is looking forward to working with a smaller group. “That I know all the families; that they are always very involved in the school. They’re extended families. They feel like the school is the heartbeat of the entire community... “The school is an extension of their family.”
Finn also wants the Hamilton community to know some things about her. “I have a lot of energy. I’m a good listener and I always put kids first. I always make decisions on what’s best for the kids. Sometimes it doesn’t make the parent happy, the teacher happy or even the child happy. But you can lay your head on the pillow at night and have a good night’s sleep knowing that you made the decision that was best for the child. You can always find things – in a positive way – to help children. You take them at the level where they are – and Hamilton is very successful – and raise them up to a new level of expectations.”
Evidence of the fact that she has a lot of energy is the fact that Finn is an avid runner. After completing a “one and done” marathon, she has competed in half-marathons. “I run for enjoyment now.”
Finn holds a bachelor’s degree in natural science and master’s degree in elementary education from the State University of New York at Geneseo and an educational administration certification from the State University of New York at Brockport.