Vanderlyn Principal Resigns (Principal’s Letter and Audra’s Thoughts)

Thoughts from Audra:

Troy and Walt Anders running the first VanderDash

I became a Vanderlyn parent in 2003 when my oldest entered Kindergarten.  We chose our home because of its proximity to the school and walked our boys and our dog George, to and from Vanderlyn for 9 years. We were all there for the very first VanderDash!  I miss being involved at Vanderlyn so much that I’m entering my 2nd year as a member of the Vanderlyn PAC (Principal’s Advisory Committee).

Mrs. Crenshaw met with her PAC today to let us know about her decision to retire.   She’s excited for the next chapter in her life and I’m so happy and excited for her.   She’s an empty nester with a husband of 32 years and they are ready for what is next!

I’ve seen two other Vanderlyn principals come and go (Burger and Maloof).  As a young mom, I literally just about lost my mind when Mrs. Burger left to spend her very last year at another elementary school.  But then I liked Maloof.  A lot.  When he left I was thrilled that Mrs. Crenshaw was ushered in as the new leader of Vanderlyn.   I’ve always adored Tracey Crenshaw.  She exudes her love for the teachers, the staff, the children, the parents and for the overall gift of being in a position to help people of all ages learn and grow.  She helped my youngest one morning as a first grader in a bit of stress after a misunderstanding with an older kiddo.  She handled the situation beautifully for all involved and I’ve continued to admire her ever since.

I was the oldest in the room at the PAC meeting…..or at least I have the oldest kids!   I could feel the sizzle of nerves from all the current parents who are concerned about who’s next and what that means for Vanderlyn.  I get it.   I felt the same way when Mrs. Burger left…but our community, the teachers, the staff, the parents and the kids are unique….special….awesome….diverse… and we can welcome a new leader who will be such a lucky human to be responsible for such an amazing neighborhood school.

As for Mrs. Crenshaw…she’s saying things like “I live 20 minutes away and even after I’m retired I’ll help unless I am told I’m in the way!”    She’s thankful that she’s a full time employee so her decision had to be made on a calendar year rather than a school year.   Her deadline to decide was yesterday….so she decided but held off finalizing because she loves Vanderlyn so much and wanted 24 hours to be able to change her mind.   Her successor has big shoes to fill but they can walk into a school full of amazing teachers, parents, students and a plan for the remainder of the school year already in place.   I wonder who our new lucky Principal will be?!   I’ll keep you posted.

Forwarded Letter from Vanderlyn’s Principal Tracey Crenshaw

Tracey Crenshaw

Dear Vanderlyn School Community,

After much thought, personal reflection, professional guidance, and 31 contiguous years with the DCSD, I am writing to formally announce my retirement as the Principal of Vanderlyn Elementary School, effective December 1, 2023. It is with mixed emotions that I share this news with you, as my time at Vanderlyn has been a source of immeasurable joy and satisfaction. As such, this is an open letter of gratitude to the VES Community, as it is near impossible for me to personally thank all of the staff, parents, and students who have contributed to my success.

I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve this amazing school community over the past 16 years.  I have had the privilege of working with a dedicated staff, exceptional students, and a supportive community. Together, we have raised the bar on student success, achieved numerous milestones and accolades in education, and have created a one-of-a kind legacy of excellence. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been part of this extraordinary journey.

To my faculty and staff: I want to express my sincere gratitude to the faculty and staff for supporting my numerous initiatives and for choosing to follow my lead. As the adage goes, “He who calls himself a leader, but has no one following, is merely taking a walk”. So, I thank you for following me throughout this incredible journey of teaching and learning. Thank you for your belief in my vision. We have built a platform that has allowed innovative teaching practices that embrace 21st century skills and tools for our students. We have grown a strong community that has come together over hardships and has celebrated much. I am moving on, but the shared Vanderlyn mission and vision continues to be strong. Vanderlyn is stronger than it has ever been in its history and continues to grow because of your active support.

To my parents: Thank you for your unwavering support and collaboration throughout the years. Thank you for trusting your precious children to my care. Thank you for allowing me to make decisions that shaped their future. I have been humbled by how the VES community has embraced me as a leader. It has truly been an honor to serve as your 3D leader and most importantly, as your child’s advocate.

To my students: My heart beats for each of you as if you were my own. I delight in your growth. Thank you for your unconditional love which has been the source of my energy. I am who I am because of you. You have given my life purpose and meaning. I will always love you and be your forever princi”PAL”.

Vanderlyn is truly a next-generation, future-ready, and inclusive school. At Vanderlyn, a sense of community and school pride has always been evident in everything that we do. You notice it immediately. You feel it as you walk through the halls or attend a school function: the quality, the tradition, the pride, and the sense of being “family.” When people talk about Vanderlyn, the reputation is full of strength, care, innovation, and SPIRIT. Together we’ve learned so much and shared experiences that will remain with me for many years to come. I will forever cherish the relationships that I have built here. 

Once again, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for the privilege of being part of the Vanderlyn School Community. Saying goodbye is never easy; however, thank you for understanding that me leaving is not abandoning you, but rather choosing me. The world has so many adventures to discover, and I look forward to spreading my wings and taking new risks that will help me continue to further my gifts while I have time, good health, and energy.

In the coming weeks, I will continue to work hard with you and for you as principal until December 1, 2023. Additionally, I will work closely with the teachers, staff, and the district to ensure a smooth transition and provide the necessary guidance to finish the remainder of the school year strong. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or assistance required during this transitional period.


Tracey Crenshaw