“I’m leaving the building but my heart remains” says much loved retiring headteacher

A much loved headteacher who has dedicated over three decades to educating the children of Sunderland and County Durham is retiring after 33 years at the chalk-face.

Karen Field, 55, has spent the last 14 years as headteacher at Seaview Primary School in Seaham. Before taking up her leadership role at the County Durham school, Karen had spent the previous two decades nurturing children in Sunderland.

Karen began her teaching career in 1989 at Quarry View School before moving on to Carley Hill Primary School in Southwick, which has now closed, and then Hudson Road Primary School in Hendon, where she was also headteacher for seven years.

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Speaking to the Echo on her final day, Karen said: "I may be walking out of the building but my heart will remain here.

“What I think I will miss most is the day to day contact with the students, being part of a community and making a difference to children’s lives.

"I feel really proud of what we have achieved at the school – it’s been a huge team effort. We call ourselves the Seaview family and that’s exactly what we are.

Karen has decided to retire to improve her work life balance, including spending more time with her family.

Retiring Seaview Primary School headteacher, Karen Field, surrounded by some of the children she has nurtured during 14 years at the school.

She said: “I’m planning on doing some travelling and will look to develop some new hobbies now that I have the time. I wish the school well and I’m sure it’s going to have a bright future under the new headteacher.”

Karen was presented by the children with an array of flowers and gifts during her leaving assembly and has certainly left a lasting impression on the children in her care.

Year 6 pupil Matty Laverick, 11, said: “I’m going to miss Mrs Field as she always put the children and staff first. She will always help anyone no matter what the circumstances.

"My best memory is this Christmas when Mrs Field joined our table for Christmas dinner. We were pulling crackers and laughing at all of the jokes.”

Retiring Seaview Primary School headteacher, Karen Field, with one of the many bouquets of flowers she received.

Classmate Mason Jones, 11, added: “I’m really sad but happy at the same time as she can now relax and enjoy her retirement. Mrs Field is a really kind and caring person who always likes to help other people.

"If my teacher was off she would always take the class to help out.”

Taking over the reigns at the school is the current Deputy Headteacher, Lexi Wilkinson, who has worked alongside Karen for the last 12 years.

Lexi said: “Karen has transformed this school and made it into the family it is today. She has made a significant impact on the children as well as guiding younger staff as they start their careers.

"She has always been a very visible leader and had an open door policy in which she has always been available to help both children and staff.

"Karen is going to be very much missed.”

Year 6 pupil Micky Grant, 10, added: “I hope Mrs Field has a lovely retirement as she deserves it. I’m going to miss her kindness. Every time I would walk by she would always give me a wave or a smile.”