As the school year winds to a close, Riverview Middle School is also preparing to say goodbye to its principal.
"I did the math and I knew that at the end of this year... I was able to retire," said Riverview Middle School principal Bill Zadernak. "If I had to work though, this is where I would stay. I love this job and I love this school."
He said that, after 30 years in education and being principal since Riverview Middle opened in 2005, he felt he could leave the school in good hands.
"I feel like right now with our CCRPI testing in the top 10 percent in the state and we're getting awards left and right, things couldn't be any better," Zadernak said. "I hope whoever takes over, 11 years from now they're still doing the same things we believe in that have made us successful."
Zadernak began with Dawson County in June of 1988.
"I was hired by Randall Townley," he said. "I had taught for two years in North Carolina. I came here to coach football and basketball."
Zadernak has previously coached varsity football, middle school and junior varsity basketball and varsity baseball for Dawson County. He was also the athletic director for the high school.
In 2000, he was named the assistant principal at the previous Dawson County Middle School. In 2004, he became its principal.
When the new Dawson County Middle School was under construction, Zadernak was housed temporarily at Riverview Middle School, still acting as principal of Dawson County Middle.
Three years later, the new Dawson County Middle School was completed and Darnell was offered a position at the Dawson County Board of Education Central Office. Zadernak was then named principal of Riverview Middle, a position he has held until retirement.
Zadernak said he planned to enjoy retirement, doing things around the house, but that eventually he would probably get back part time into the work force.
"I may pick up another job part time at some point, maybe substitute teach," he said. "I know the system and how the classes should be pushed. If I'm subbing, I'll definitely be teaching instead of just sitting there."
Long-term school board member Roger Slaton said that the decisions were bittersweet for the system.
"Bill is the principal of one of the best performing schools in Dawson County," said Board of Education member Roger Slaton. "He has worked very hard for Riverview Middle School."
Zadernak and his wife Bonnie have two children, Scott and Lauren.
A retirement gathering will be held for Zadernak at 3 p.m. May 16 at Rock Creek Park. Zadernak said everyone is invited for food and fun.