Russell gets back to work

Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Jon Russell stands by the Clay City Elementary sign. He was back on the job as principal Monday after a 16-month tour of duty in Iraq.

Clay City Elementary School welcomed back Principal Jon Russell Monday after his 16-month leave to serve in Iraq.

Secretary Kae Smith presented Russell with a new backpack full of "back-to-school" supplies during a morning welcome back program in the gym.

In the backpack, Russell received a variety of supplies to help him readjust to civilian life, including smiley stickers, animal crackers, roses "to stop and smell" and a box of Lucky Charms cereal.

"Busy. That's the best word I could say to sum (the day) up. Busy, but fun," Russell said.

He said that the hardest part of coming back to school was making sure he was in the right place at the right time.

Russell also said that the biggest change at Clay City Elementary was how much the children have grown since he was last in the building.

He was also quick to add that the faculty and staff "look as young as ever."

After greeting each classroom, Russell went straight into his administrative work.

"I dove into getting ISTEP packaged up and sent out," he said.

The faculty and staff held a pitch-in luncheon, and kids made welcome back cards as well.

When asked if he would apply anything from his tour of duty to his civilian life, Russell said that patience was a big lesson.

"Nothing moves fast in Iraq except the MedEvac," Russell said.

That learned patience helps Russell get a job done well and move on, especially when so many people want his time.

He says that it's helping him adjust at work and at home.

"It's good to be back. It's like riding a bike," Russell said.

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