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DeKalb Native Brings Experience, Big Ideas to New Role at Idlewood Elementary

principal-elderThe new school year always brings new school supplies, new friends and, for one Tucker Cluster School, it brought a new principal. Idlewood Elementary School welcomed Ms. Robin Elder to their campus this August with open arms and hearts. Elder, a product of the DeKalb County School District, takes over for Ms. Rosemary Malone, who retired as principal in the spring following a long career in education.

Elder arrived at the school and made a point to get to know her staff. While she’s impressed with the faculty at Idlewood, she’s also impressed, she says, with the growth of Tucker.

“This is a really cute community,” Elder says. “I thought ‘wow’ and looking at the different businesses ‘well this is perfect’. I am excited.”

Education is actually Elder’s second career. After leaving a sales position with AT&T, she started teaching in DeKalb County, but eventually landed in Fulton County as a counselor and assistant principal. She then moved to Nashville where, for the past three years, she served as principal of Sylvan Park Paideia Elementary School. After enjoying success in Music City, Elder had good reason to decide the time was right to come back home to Georgia and the DeKalb County School District.

“[I had] life changing experiences,” she explains. “I have a new granddaughter who is two. I [realized] I need to go back home.”

In her search for a new position, she specifically sought a school with a great level of diversity. Idlewood, which is the has the largest student population of any elementary school in the Tucker Cluster, was the perfect opportunity. Elder says Idlewood’s students speak over 50 unique languages, bringing challenges and opportunities for growth.

“I have seen a lot of excitement from the teachers and students and I have had opportunities to meet many parents,” she recalls. “During pre-planning we decided to start an Outreach Committee to go out and welcome the parents into the school and encourage them to engage in their students’ learning.”

Elder and her staff realized that the best way to get parents and the community involved was to go out and invite them in. She has worked with all stakeholders to find new ways to get their input on the direction of Idlewood. Within the very first month of her tenure, she instituted “Engagement with Elder”, an opportunity for parents to meet with her and ask questions one-on-one in a relaxed atmosphere.

As Elder looks toward future partnerships within the community, she and her staff are laser focused on their vision for Idlewood.

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