Claypool Elementary Principal Melissa Rees Announces Retirement
WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools’ administration recently announced the retirement of Claypool Elementary School Principal Melissa Rees.
After 33 years of dedicated service to WCS, Rees informed her staff she will be retiring at the end of the 2022-23 school year.
Rees is a beloved figure in the community, known for her unwavering commitment to the education and well-being of her students. She has spent her entire career with WCS, starting as a physical education teacher at Leesburg Elementary before moving on to administrative roles at Harrison and Eisenhower Elementary Schools. She then had the privilege of opening Claypool Elementary, where she has been the principal for the past 13 years.
“I have been extremely blessed to work with great people who have a heart for our students,” said Rees.
Rees is a graduate of Ball State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. She later earned her Master’s in Education and her Master’s in Educational and Organizational Leadership, further enhancing her knowledge and skills in the field of education.
Rees’ husband, Warsaw Area Career Center Blue Apron Chef Mark Bragg; her daughter and son-in-law, Kailan and Brad Shepherd; her 22-month-old granddaughter, Helen Shepherd; along with her mother, Mary Lou, all live on Chapman Lake.
Rees shared she is looking forward to spending some more time with them on the lake after her retirement. She also noted this is just a retirement from education, and she is planning to pursue some other opportunities to keep her busy.
“It is hard to put into words what Mrs. Rees has meant to Claypool Elementary and what she will always mean to us as well,” said Claypool third-grade teacher Kathy Ray. “We see it in her everyday actions. We hear it in her everyday words. We feel it in the love she gives each and every student, teacher, and staff member. We are a Claypool family and Mrs. Rees should be very proud of where we are as a school. She will be missed in so many ways, and we are so blessed to know that she has carved for us a path to help us continue to be the best Knights we can be. Many tears will be shed as we say goodbye to her leadership at Claypool, but she will not be forgotten in each and every life she has touched.”
“The role of a leader is never easy, but Mrs. Rees is definitely one of the best,” said Sara Rode. “She has inspired the Claypool Knights, both students and staff, to be the best individuals, team members, and family that we can be. The staff members, students, and teachers have all been positively impacted by the care and support given by Mrs. Rees throughout her career. I am grateful for the mentorship she has given, and her willingness to lead by example. The Claypool family will certainly miss her leadership in many ways, but will continue to positively impact all of those we meet along our journey. We are the Claypool family because Mrs. Rees has inspired us to be who we are. We are saddened by her retirement, but wish her the very best in her next adventure.”
“The impact that Mrs. Rees has had on Claypool Elementary and the surrounding community cannot be overstated,” said Brock Rhodes. “Over the past 13 years she has worked to better every student, staff, and community member that has come through our doors. We are all better students, educators, and people because of the leadership and love that Mrs. Rees has provided. She has exemplified the very idea of being respectful, responsible, and safe…three words that every Knight knows. It was never a ‘me’ and always a ‘we’ from Mrs. Rees and the Claypool community. If there was a difficult task that needed done, she rolled up her sleeves and did it. Her announcement hit the staff hard and as much as we want to hold on to her, we also want to wish her the best and look forward to seeing great things she still has to accomplish, and I’m sure that is what she wishes for us too.”
The Claypool Elementary and WCS families would like to thank Melissa Rees for her dedicated service and wish her well as she starts the next chapter and enjoys more time with her family and friends.
“We are so thankful to Mrs. Rees for her service as an educator and administrator at WCS,” said WCS Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert. “She has dedicated her career to our local community and schools. She will be missed greatly by the Claypool community. Job well done, Mrs. Rees.”