Principal Darryl Farmer publicly announced his retirement in an email to the Manual community this afternoon after a two-year tenure as principal.
BREAKING: Principal Darryl Farmer announced his retirement this afternoon in an email to the Manual community. His last day will be December 31st. Farmer became principal during the 2018-2019 school year. Stay tuned for reactions from students, parents and teachers. pic.twitter.com/WUl8tiLDNF
— Manual RedEye (@manualredeye) November 24, 2020
“I have always been in school and I have always loved it. But I plan to spend more time with my family and mother,” Farmer said in his email.
He will remain in his position until Dec. 31, the end of the first semester.
Farmer became principal at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, replacing former Principal Gerry Mayes; Kirk Lattimore acted as interim principal in-between.
Farmer has worked in Jefferson County Public Schools since 1993 and served as an assistant principal at Manual from 2009-2016, and then principal at Ramsey Middle School from 2016-2018.
He is known at Manual for telling students to “have a ramtastic day” over the intercom and his “RAMS” acronym.
“We are rams, we are respectful, we act responsibly, we make a difference and we strive for that academic excellence,” Farmer said in an interview with RedEye.
He also emphasized that this was a difficult decision.
“Manual has opened their arms twice for Darryl Farmer, and I do appreciate that,” Farmer said. “I am going to miss my time at Manual, but I do wish you the best of luck with the next person coming in.”
There has been no information on an interim or new hire as principal going into next semester.
Here is a message from Mr. Farmer to the Manual community:
Manual Community reactions
The students and faculty were shocked by the news of Farmer’s retirement.
“I think Mr. Farmer became such a part of the culture at manual, and I have many good memories of him,” Emma Brockman (11, HSU) said. “I was really looking forward to going back to school and hearing ‘Have a Ramtastic day’ again, so it makes me sad I won’t ever hear that again from Mr. Farmer himself.”
“Mr. Farmer is such a pleasant guy. He wasn’t Manual’s principal for long, but in the time he was here he made each day a little better. I’m going to miss that,” Ellie Thornsbury (11, J&C) said.
Emily Burns (10, YPAS) said she will miss the way Farmer brightened her school days.
“In the morning on the intercom, he would always make me laugh smile when he made jokes,” Burns said.
As freshman, Justice Miller (9, J&C) and Annie Hiecken (9, J&C) never got to meet Mr. Farmer, but the news took them by surprise.
“I haven’t had any real interaction with him. I am just shocked he is retiring, though. It was just unexpected for me personally,” Miller said.
“I’m shocked and disappointed that I never got to meet him. I hope that whoever replaces him is just as welcoming and enthusiastic about being the principal of Manual,” Hiecken said.
Jacob Hoskinson (12, HSU) is disappointed but understands Farmer’s decision.
“I’m sure it’s very stressful to be the principal of a school like duPont Manual,” Hoskinson said.
Safwa Gopang (12, MST) agrees.
“All of our priorities have changed during the pandemic,” Gopang said.
Alumni like Parker Mindel (Class of 2020) felt the impact of Farmer in all aspects of the school.
“As an alumni, I got to see how warmly Manual welcomed Mr. Farmer into our school culture. As an athlete, I got a front-row seat to see just how much Mr. Farmer cares about the student body. He went above and beyond to make students feel seen and valued,” Mindel said.
Assistant Principal Paula Boggs is happy for Mr. Farmer but is sad to see him go.
“He has brought a sense of integrity, stability and consistency to the hearts and minds of the faculty, staff and students at Manual, as well as an intentional focus on racial equity and the celebration of our diversity,” Boggs said.
Jen Dye, parent of Ella Dye (11, J&C) and Parker Dye (12, YPAS), has a similar bittersweet feeling.
“Although it may be easy to view it as one more ember flying off the dumpster fire that is 2020, I am confident the powers that may be will work hard to find someone qualified and caring to take the reins,” Dye said.
While most of the Manual community was shocked, there is a general understanding for the decision.
“I trust in the decisions he makes for our school and feel that he genuinely does have the student’s best interests at heart,” Juliet Bailey (10, HSU) said.
“His impact on Manual has been incalculable,” Mindel said. “He is leaving very big shoes to fill.”