By CASEY CROUCHER
Students at R.J. McNulty International Academy for International Studies and Literacy Magnet School got a special surprise Friday morning.
Retired principal Edward Picinich came to the school for the first time in 22 years to read to Jennifer Porter's second grade class.
"I'm so happy I came in today," Picinich said. "I love seeing how the school has changed and updated over the years. The atmosphere here has changed; it's more relaxed and comfortable and the children seem happy. That's the sign of a good school."
Picinich, who served as McNulty's principal from 1977 to 1990, moved to Florida shortly after retiring. He said he comes back to Amsterdam for the spring and summer months and always wanted to visit his old stomping grounds.
"I always thought about visiting the school, but I didn't think I could just walk in," he said. "I thought I should be invited first. Today has been wonderful; I was invited to read to these children."
Porter's students, who were just as excited as Picinich, yelled out answers to questions he asked from the children's book, "What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?" by Steve Jenkins, a book about different animals around the world.
Picinich said his sister-in-law, Sandy Scott, a teacher's aid in Porter's classroom, influenced him to go in on Friday.
"Even after I retired I never stopped talking about McNulty," he said. "[Scott] thought it'd be nice if I finally came back."
After the students asked him why he retired, he laughed and said, "I was getting old. I was almost 60 years old, and in the education field, that's getting up there."
However, he told the students he would have continued being principal if he had had the energy.
"I loved working in this school, I would have been principal 20 more years if I could have, but in education, youth is important, and it was time for me to move on."