Central High School Principal retires after 50 years in St. Paul Schools

A high school principal in St. Paul is retiring after 26 years at the helm and 50 years in the district.

Central High School Principal Mary Mackbee is one of the district’s longest-serving administrators.

Mackbee has walked the halls of the St. Paul school for a quarter century. In June, she’ll celebrate another milestone as she turns 75 years old.

“Well, it’s been an adventure,” Mackbee said to FOX 9. “We’ve had some tumultuous times and a lot of good times. The kids here are wonderful. This staff is just superb.”

Her longevity and style has made her a fixture in the community.

She is a strict disciplinarian who has pushed thousands of students to be their best.

“They may not always enjoy seeing me and pushing them,” Mackbee said.

It’s persistence that’s paid off as her retirement nears.

“When I came in in 1993, there was a little pushback in terms of how people perceive this school,” she recalled. “So, I think, if anything, my legacy will be that we brought it back to its prime, to its elevated reputation in the city.”

Cementing Mackbee’s legacy will be a Thursday ceremony to rename the school’s auditorium in her honor. A scholarship will also be awarded in her name.

“I know that it’s really a blessing to be alive and to be in a job you really love,” she said.

Mackbee is now preparing for a new chapter in her life.

“I’ve worked beyond retirement age needs and I have grandchildren and children and so I just want to spend time not having to be here at 6:30 every day and leave sometimes at 10. And do some fun things that I have not been able to do.”