Prairie Village City Councilor Terrence Gallagher stood in the Corinth Elementary gymnasium with his daughter Elizabeth, waiting for an opportunity to shake the man’s hand.
Elizabeth attended Corinth from 2005-2012. As a special needs student — she has cerebal palsy and other conditions that pose significant learning challenges — she might have been steered to a special needs program. But Corinth principal Ken Emley had worked closely with both the Gallagher family and the Corinth staff to allow Elizabeth to stay there. When Elizabeth had to be sent to the Intensive Care Unit four times over the course of her education at Corinth, Emley visited each time.
“He’s a remarkable person,” Terrence said. “His heart is as big as this school. He was always there for her, and made sure she was really integrated into the program at Corinth, which meant the world to our family.”
The Gallaghers were one of dozens of families who gathered Thursday to honor Emley as he finishes his final year as an educator. After a career that’s included stints in Paola, Blue Valley and Augusta, Emley’s nine years as principal at Corinth will be his last in the profession.
Not one to relish time in the spotlight, Emley said he was somewhat relieved when the ceremony where he received a “Corinth Hall of Fame” plaque was over. But he clearly enjoyed catching up with the parents in attendance.
“What I really take away is the sense of community here,” he said. “I think that’s really unique about this building.
Retirement may be taking Emley away from Corinth. But he won’t be going far.
“I’ve got a few trips planned,” he said. “But then it’s more time with the grandkids. They’ll be going to Brookwood.”
Emley’s last official day will be June 6.