Saturday, May 15, 2021



Cindee Engrahm Retires

By: Naomi Gerhart |

Williams Elementary School Principal of 15 years, Cyndee Engrahm, will be retiring at the completion of this school year. Engrahm will say her final goodbyes to the students of Williams Elementary.

With Engrahm’s decision, the school board has decided to reconfigure the administration in a cost saving manner. Jennifer Foglesong who is currently principle at the 4-6 level, will next year take over for K-6. There will also be a new vice principal.

“One of these two people will be at the K-3 office at all times.” Engrahm says “{Foglesong} and I have worked collaboratively over the years, combining staff development and trading teachers back and forth.”

Engrahm has seen tremendous growth during her time as principal, watching the size of the school go from 410 students for K-6, to 440 students for just K-3.  California standards have risen, putting more pressure on both students and teachers to achieve bigger and better scores. Williams Elementary School and Mrs. Engrahm have risen to that challenge, and achieved the California Distinguished School Award in both 2004, and 2010.

Engrahm has seen economic hardships increasing in the last 2-3 years. This has been major concern for our community.

“We have to first take care of the child.” Engrahm says, “The child can not learn if they are in survival mode. So we have to spend more time getting the child centered and ready for school”

This includes a well balanced breakfast and/or lunch available at the school, for a discount or free depending on the family income.

Morning Star contributes filled backpacks to every first grader. WPD puts on the Bicycle Rodeo, during which they give out helmets and teach bicycle safety. The Busy Bee Parents Club is responsible for much of the mural art you see on the WES campus.

“Happy children are the sign of a successful school.” Says Engrahm, she loves to hear laughter on the playground.

Engrahm’s plans for retirement include learning how to make a perfect pie.

“I have always had to bring salads for family get together; I’m not allowed to bring dessert.” Engrahm laughs “I am determined to learn how to make the perfect pie! I also want to paint my house and to become fluent in Spanish. You would think that I would have done this by now, but better late than never!”

Engrahm’s favorite memories are all about the kids she says, “It’s the little things [that matter so much]” Engrahm says, showing off a picture that one of the kindergarten children had given her. “What other job can you have, where you {receive} 30 hugs a day, and three of them are because you are reminding someone that they are not following the rules?”

Pat Hopkins, who was the superintendent when Engrahm accepted the position as principal , offered her this advice, “Take care of your teachers and they will do everything else.” For 15 years Engrahm has lived by those words, and has since included the office staff in this statement. “I can’t take credit for anything… it is all them.”

“It won’t be Maui without her.” Maria Salcedo secretary at WES states. “She will be missed.”

Lucy Mendez, secretary at WES, remembers Engrahm as always saying, “Little kids, little problems.”

Engrahm is also quoted with saying, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

To students past, present, and future, from Mrs. Engrahm… “Thank you. Thank you for making each and every day an exciting and joyful day.”



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