Much-admired Hailey Elementary School principal retiring
By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer
Ellen Morrical says she has been having
"separation anxiety" because she plans to leave school after being in it for
more than 50 years.
Morrical is set to retire this June as the long-running, much-loved
principal of Hailey Elementary School. By then, she will have reached her 60th birthday.
Incredibly, she has been either a student, a teacher or an administrator since age five.
During a pre-retirement interview last week, Morrical gave a run-down of
her long history in education. At Hailey, where she has spent most of her career, she has
worked as an educator since 1974.
For years, Morrical said, she has been having excited and unexpected
reunions with former students who have grown up and then come back to enroll their own
children at Hailey Elementary.
"This is terrible. All kinds of people walk through here and say,
Youre still here?" Morrical said in her persistently ironic style.
"Its time to play," she added.
Still, Morrical insists that teaching in the Wood River Valley is the best
employment a person could wish for.
"Ive never become tired of the job, because the kids are
great," she said. True, they mature faster now than they once did"they
know things I didnt know until college"but theyre good kids, still,
Born in 1940 in New Jersey, Morrical spent her childhood in St. Louis, Mo.
She came to Idahoto ski, she saidby way of Sunnyvale, Calif.,
where she taught for five years.
At age 29, she was teaching partially sighted students in Gooding, and
In her early 30s, she trained nascent teachers for the Teachers
Corps. in Filer, and skied.
She moved to Hailey in 1974, when district superintendent Phil Homer hired
her as a sixth-grade language arts teacher. She taught that subject until 1976, when she
became principal of the school. The rest, as they say, is history, and skiing.
Now, Morrical holds airline tickets for Greece and Italy, where she plans
to resume her long-lost passion for scuba diving, she said. On her return trip this fall,
shell probably stop over in Connecticut just to watch the leaves turn color.
As an educator, she said, "You never get to see them, because
youre working that time of year."
In an imperfect world, surely no job can be as rosy as Morrical paints
hers to be. There must be at least something about it she doesnt like.
"Nope," she said, "not here. There are normal ups and
downs, but this is a great place to teach, and thats not phony baloney."