IES celebrates a decade with Principal Hoffman

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IES Principal Christine Hoffman is surprised by IES faculty as she enters the school library on April 4. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

IES Principal Christine Hoffman is surprised by IES faculty as she enters the school library on April 4. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—As Inverness Elementary School Principal Christine Hoffman entered what she thought was a regular staff meeting on April 4, she found the library filled with the smiling faces of IES teachers, community members and her family.

Instead of a staff meeting, the IES teachers planned a surprise party in celebration of Hoffman’s 10-year anniversary at the school, complete with cake, gifts and a special present from every student and teacher at the school.

Hoffman’s positive attitude and commitment to student success shapes the atmosphere of the school, IES Assistant Principal Jeff Norris said.

“Mrs. Hoffman always puts students first—their learning, well-being and success,” Norris said. “She embodies our school motto, as she makes IES ‘a great place to grow.’”

IES special education teacher Susan Lee said students enjoy going to the principal’s office to see Hoffman and show her their latest accomplishments.

“They love her. They always want to show her (their work),” Lee said. “She’s a reward…she’s that friendly face.”

Hoffman’s care extends beyond students to the faculty. She works with teachers and is always there to help or offer “a kind word, an encouraging word,” first grade teacher Kelly Failla said.

“If we need anything, she tries to get it for us,” Failla said. “She’s out and about…she really is interested in what we’re doing.”

Although Hoffman has an open-door policy, she is rarely found in her office. Instead, she can often be found in the hallways and classrooms throughout the school.

“I’ve been in Shelby County for 12 years, but she’s a different principal,” Lee said. “She wants to be in the classroom, she wants to be in the hallways, she wants to be in the lunchroom with the kids.”

IES has changed throughout Hoffman’s 10 years as principal. Along with ups and downs in school enrollment numbers, the school has seen an increase in diversity in the IES community. Today, 15 different native languages are represented in the IES community.

“We have full inclusion,” Hoffman said, noting diversity is a point of pride at IES.
During her decade with the school, Hoffman said IES has become her “second home.”

“I love being with all of you and this is my second home,” Hoffman said to the IES faculty gathered in the library. “It’s been a fun 10 years, and I’m not quite done yet!”