MCLEAN, Va. (WUSA9) --Throughout the day, parents of students and former students came to thank Dr. Robyn Hooker, who's been principal at Kent Gardens Elementary School since 1983.
"It really threw me for a loop, didn't see it coming," an employee said.
With less than three weeks until school starts, she announced yesterday that today would be her last day on the job.
"This way, I have minimized a lot of tears and a lot of anxiety...I think this is the way to do it," said Dr. Hooker.
Bill and Maureen Jenkins have four children who attended Kent Gardens in the 80's and 90's.
"She does not take any slack, it's wonderful."
Dr. Hooker has pushed for cutting edge instruction, Kent Gardens is a French Immersion school and one of the first.
She brought Broadway music theater to the school, she had her teachers all trained to the advanced academic program, and she's has brought STEM education to every student.
"I am not one who shies away from controversy. I am one who takes credit knowing what is best for children," Dr. Hooker said.
Hooker says she has one focus when there's a disagreement with parents or supervisors.
Something else about Hooker, she's a huger and makes everyone she meets feel important.
"Dr. Hooker exudes such warmth, and support and love above anything else," employee Katie Herring said.