New principal Patricia Keefer, along with Anne Arundel County Public School officials, media members and councilman Dick Ladd, escorted Perkins around the school.
“I am excited for the children, I really am,” Perkins said. “I know this is a day they all wait for with much anticipation. So as the new superintendent here, it’s exciting to come and see them actually in action in their environment. It’s great.”
Perkins visited with teachers and made a stop in every classroom. She also spoke candidly with the kids asking how many of them were tired, and reminded them to head to bed a little early tonight.
She even paused her tour to help a student who dropped his books, saying kids have a lot of supplies to carry in on the first day of school.
"She is so hands-on with greeting teachers and students,” said Richard Benfer president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County. “She’s a breath of fresh air."
On her first stop on a tour of 21 schools over the next two weeks, Perkins said she was looking to meet teachers and have them put a face with her name. She said a priority for Anne Arundel County Public Schools this year is making sure teachers have the resources they need.
“There are so many things [teachers] are expected to do well,” Perkins said. “We need to have support in place for them. We want to make sure everyone has the support they need to be successful, because success for them means success for our students.”
Perkins said she herself has a granddaughter who started kindergarten Monday, so she is well aware of the feelings parents have on the first day of school. She said she still gets "butterflies" in her stomach every year on the first day.
“There is such hope and promise in their eyes as they anticipate a new school year,” Perkins said about the students. “That’s what I hope for them and that’s what I expect the teachers to offer them as well.”