A fresh face can be seen walking the halls of North Smyrna Elementary this year in Stephanie McGuire, the new associate principal. McGuire, 38, takes the position after the previous associate principal, Pat Grant, took the associate principal's job at Sunnyside Elementary.

McGuire and her family moved to Smyrna after she spent 15 years working in the Lake Forest School District. McGuire recently sat down with the Sun-Times to talk about her decision to apply for the position and what she enjoys about being an educator.

Q Why did you apply for the position at North Smyrna Elementary?

A I was really looking for a change and a new opportunity, and wanting to serve the children in the community in which I lived. I heard a lot of good things about the Smyrna School District. I felt it was very comparable to Lake Forest. It was a good change.

Q What do you enjoy about being an administrator versus a teacher?

A As a teacher, each year you get a new group of students and that's who you impact the most. As an administrator, I feel that I am able to impact all the kids in the school. And I really enjoy working with the faculty, watching them grow and develop professionally as well.

Q Why did you originally choose a career in education?

A I have always, always, always wanted to be a teacher. There were two teachers that I had throughout my educational career that really made a positive impact on me and even not necessarily educationally but more on a personal level. They made a really good connection and I've always wanted to make that connection with kids that I fell into contact with.

Q How have things been so far here in Smyrna?

A Things have been wonderful. I feel like I have been rejuvenated. Everybody here has been very welcoming from the top with Mrs. [Debbie] Wicks and Mr. [Patrik] Williams, all the way down to the teachers, cafeteria, custodial staff, and secretarial staff here. Mrs. [Kelly] Holt has been amazing. I feel like her and I, we've only worked together for two months but it feels like it's been years.

When you leave some place after 15 years you get kind of nervous: 'Am I making the right move?' and you have to start all over, building that rapport with the community and the kids and teachers. You really get nervous. It's hard to do that but I do not regret making the change one bit. I'm very thankful Smyrna took a chance on me and they won't be disappointed.

Email Jennifer Dailey at jennifer.dailey@doverpost.com.