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Bonham's Interim Principal Says Goodbye

It was only a few months ago that Royce Curtis was called out of retirement to serve as the interim principal at Bonham Elementary School in Abilene. Today, teachers and students there bid him a farewell as they prepare to welcome a new principal next year.
Bonham Elementary School's Interim Principal, Royce Curtis, is an Abilene ISD veteran. He's made his mark over a three decade career on campuses like Valley View Elementary School and Franklin Junior High. Curtis is most remembered for his 14-years spent as principal at Abilene High School. But today, it was the students at bonham who found it hard to see him go.

It's been more than a decade since Curtis was last principal at the elementary level.

"Like anything, anytime you're in a job, you miss the relationships that you make," says Curtis. "You miss the people and the friendships that you make."

It was in 2010 when Curtis ended his 35-year educational career. Three years later when Bonham's previous principal resigned, Curtis was asked by AISD Superintendent Heath Burns to put his retirement on pause.

"I think my favorite thing is getting to know the kids and seeing them grow," says Curtis.

Since then, he's walked the halls and passed out hugs to the students at Bonham Elementary.

"When I take my kids into the cafeteria for lunch, he's in there sitting with other kids, just building relationships," kindergarten teacher, Shirla Mullins smiles as she talks about Curtis' connection with the students. "He's just a really great person at building relationships, not only with the faculty and the staff, but with the parents and the students."

Reading teacher Shirla Mullins interacted with Curtis as a parent years ago when he was principal at the schools her children attended. Now, she says she equally appreciates his dedication as someone under his leadership, and understand just how much parents will miss his leadership at Bonham.

"Mr. Curtis has fostered such great relationships with students that he had when he was principal at Abilene High School," says Mullins. "But then, he's also been able to foster those relationships again here with them as parents."

Today marked the restart of the next chapter of Curtis' life: retirement. And when asked how it feels to re-enter retirement, Curtis says, "well I don't know. Ask me tomorrow morning or Monday morning, actually."

While Curtis decides what to do with the extra time he'll now have, the Bonham Bulldogs will welcome a new principal. The school's new principal, Mrs. Tina  Wyatt, comes to Bonham from Mann Middle School. She's spent the last week or so at Bonham, preparing for next semester. Last night, parents and students had an opportunity to meet Wyatt before the holiday break.

To hear what Principal Curtis means to KTAB's Victor Sotelo and his children, watch the additional video connected to this story.
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