Sue Botner, principal at Colony Elementary, is retiring after 30 years in education.

Sue Botner has joined former principals Betty Mae Hodges and Mary Ann Robbins among the ranks of retirees. And the principal of Colony Elementary couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “I’m just so looking forward to it ... I’m ready to go. I’m actually thrilled I’m able to retire now and do a few things.”

Botner has been a fixture in Laurel County education for 30 years.

After earning her elementary education degree at Eastern Kentucky University, Botner kicked off her teaching career in 1979 at Bush Elementary. After a year there, she moved to London Elementary, where she stayed for the next 10. The following 10 years were spent teaching at South Laurel Middle School before she took the principal seat in 2000.

She’s proud of what she and her staff accomplished at Colony.

“One of my teachers was telling me we’re one of the best-kept secrets in Laurel County,” she said. “We met 100 percent of our accountability goals last year. We always get rewards. We met Adequate Yearly Progress every year. Our teachers work hard to meet the needs of the children academically and socially.”

But Botner said it’s time to pass on the reins. And get to the business of being retired.

She already has a lot of plans in place for the free time that will result.

“All through my career I haven’t been able to do my artsy thing,” she said.

As such, she’s signed up for a watercolor workshop, plans to take a pottery class and “get back into my oil painting.” She also plans to spend plenty of time with her grandchildren and travel with her husband.

“I’m going to go get my passport next month,” she laughed.

But while she looks forward to the next phase of her life, Botner underscored she’s delighted in this one.

“I’ve enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s had a lot of challenges. I think we’ve accomplished a lot at Colony.”

Staff writer Tara Kaprowy can be reached by e-mail at

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