The many faces of Bill Ramsey
MUNCY – Just about every resident in Muncy has met Bill Ramsey, principal at Ward L. Myers Elementary School and the Emergency Management coordinator for the Muncy area. His dedication and principalship has certainly not gone unnoticed for he has always been there in time of need and hardship, not only for his students but for his community.
It’s hard to believe that the time has come for retirement from the School District he told the Luminary, but he said that he will still be involved with emergency services. After June 30 he will be officially retired, but will remain in the Muncy area so that he can stay close to his family. He also serves as a volunteer with the Muncy Area Youth Commission and has input with first-time juvenile non-violent crime offenders. He is chair for the Workman’s Comprehensive for Muncy Borough as well.
A 1975 Penn State graduate and born in Coal Township, Shamokin where his father was a coal miner, Ramsey said that Muncy will always be his home. He was the youngest of five children and by the time he reached junior high, he knew he wanted to go into education. “I also narrowed it down to possibly going into engineering when I applied to colleges,” Ramsey said and noted that he applied to the Air Force Academy as well.
He began his teaching career in the fall of 1976 at the Selinsgrove Middle School were he taught 8th grade science and math. “It was a one year old building with a built-in planetarium so I ran the planetarium,” he said. He remained in Selinsgrove for 9 years before deciding to obtain his master’s degree at Bucknell University, and followed shortly at the University with an administrative certification in 1984. A year later he returned to Bucknell for one year to become a certified curriculum coordinator. “After teaching I wanted to be an elementary principal. If I had both certifications, I became more marketable,” he reasoned.
He started in Muncy in 1985 and in 1986 he he was assistant principal and in 1988 he was the principal followed by Tom Scholvin. “I spent 37 years in education,” Ramsey said.
Over the years he has never regretted living in Muncy. His wife, Maggie Quinn Ramsey, graduated from Williamsport High School in 1971 and the couple raised two girls, Sarah and Katharine, in Muncy. “We moved here during my second year with Muncy School District in 1986.” He wanted to live in his community where he was principal. “This is a good community to raise my kids,” he added. “They were able to get in college and get good jobs. There were good opportunities for them to grow up here. If you want to get involved in sports and clubs, there is always a place here for you for all of these organizations, the sports and the arts.”
Ramsey will always be a familiar face to Muncy. As Emergency Management Coordinator for the Muncy Borough for the past three years, he said he would like to retain that position for awhile. “It will keep me with something to do in retirement,” he explained.
According to Ramsey, acquiring the position kind of happened by accident. “Many times I got pulled into emergency situations. This is a logical extension.” The borough and the school are very connected. “They are interwoven,” he said as he related his experiences working in the community during last September’s flooding and the elementary school became a temporary home for displaced residents. “If another emergency comes, I can help,” he assured.
It was after the flood last fall when Ramsey became serious about retiring. “I spent one month thinking about it, and a month later I told my wife ‘It’s time!’ It’s important to realize inside when it is time to go,” he reflected. “I’ve had the years of service in and I can leave the district in a good feeling and take fond memories.” Superintendent Portia Brandt said that he made the process very easy. “He let us know by the end of October which gave the school board plenty of time to find a replacement,” she said. “He gave plenty of advanced notice so that someone was hired before January 2012.” Both Ramsey and Brandt worked up a transition plan with the school board. His predecessor will be Frank Jankowski who will take over the position as new principal July 1st.
Ramsey said he did not want to be involved in the selection process. The school board officially accepted his retirement resignation in December and Jankowski was hired in January. “I am excited for Bill,” said Jankowski. “He was a success. It was remarkable as to what he has achieved. Muncy has a lot to offer,” he said regarding Ramsey’s retirement.
Two very fond memories will always be part of Bill Ramsey’s time spent at Muncy School District. The first one happened in May of 2000 when the high school class dedicated their yearbook to him. “Not many principals get this because they’re viewed as the ‘bad guy’. I think my family knew but everyone kept it a secret.”
His second fondest memory came this year at Myers Elementary when again another yearbook dedication was made in his honor by the sixth grade class.
His last day will be June 28 but he said that he will always stay active in the education field. “I do not want to work full time,” he said but indicated that he would like to do some type of training, perhaps teaching adults as they prepare for their principalship. “I can turn theory into practice,” he said since he has already been there. For he has already mentored three people in the district who have worked on their principal certification. He explained that by law, there will be a requirement of 180 hours every 5 years to keep a principal’s license.
He will also be training for EMA too and teach courses part time. He is looking forward to taking a vacation in September to the southern Maryland coast with his wife who is an RN at Geisinger. Besides hunting and fishing he is also looking forward to maintaining his hobby, collecting old time radio shows such as The Shadow, the Jack Benny show and Fibber McGee & Molly. “I catalog them and like to listen to them on my I-pod,” he said. He also works out three times a week at the YMCA to keep in shape.
“Leaving is a bittersweet departure. Almost every night I have a dream about retirement,” he added. “I have never had a summer off. This will be my first and it may be tough to get used to. When school starts back up again in the fall, I’ll see the buses and I’ll know the students are back, but I’m not! There will be someone else in charge,” he concluded sadly, but at the same time looking forward to this next stage of life’s encounters.