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Myrick retiring after 40 plus years in education
Joshua Cowell Principal Harriet Myrick is greeted by teachers she worked with years ago. - photo by HIME ROMERO
They came in droves to see off an old friend as she heads into retirement more than four decades into her career.

And for Joshua Cowell Principal Harriet Myrick, that entire time was all about the children that she was able to help, mentor, and learn from during her tenure with the Manteca Unified School District.

Dozens of staffers, former co-workers, and friends gathered Friday afternoon for one last hurrah with a woman that they all respected and they were all sad to see go – evident by the tears shed throughout the intimate gathering.

“It’s really been my whole life,” said Myrick – who earned her Doctorate in Education while still a principal at the now-defunct Yosemite School. “It’s always hard to face change, especially something like this. The kids are great and they’re really what made this job special for me, and I’m going to miss each and every one of them.”

One of those people she touched along the way in an unlikely fashion was Joshua Cowell volunteer Paul Anderson – who hosted Friday’s going-away soiree and holds Myrick in the highest regard.

Himself also retired, Anderson found in Myrick the unlikely combination of somebody who not only receives respect, but someone who deserves it at the same time.

“When it comes to the kids, they’re all of her kids – she treats all of them as fairly as possible and she’s just great to be around,” Anderson said. “I don’t think that there’s a single person that works with her that isn’t going to miss her.

“She’s respectful of other people, and I think they realize that and then in turn respect her equally.”

Myrick was unique in the fact that she didn’t use her position as principal of a relatively small school district at the time – a post she held for well over two decades – to advance her career beyond the actual school site itself.

The move allowed her to build a strong relationship with the teachers that Anderson says have been “dedicated” to their leader since the school opened, and allowed people like head custodian Frances Sequeira a place to call home.

“Career wise, I don’t even know what I’d be doing if it weren’t for her,” said an emotional Sequeira – who came to Joshua Cowell from another school and quickly found a home. “She’s sees into the good of people, and the more time you spend around her the better a person you become in the process.”