By David Carroll

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Big Ridge Elementary principal Susan Hixson has become the latest Hamilton County principal to opt for retirement at the end of the current school year.

Ms. Hixson has been principal at Big Ridge since 2003, coming from the principal's position at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary.   She told Eyewitness News, "After thirty-one years in education, I'm ready for the next chapter.  I will really miss my Big Ridge family.  The teachers and staff do a great job here, and I love this community."

Big Ridge is considered one of the county's premier elementary schools, with outstanding parental involvement and high student achievement scores.

Ms. Hixson is the third elementary principal to announce a retirement in the past two weeks.  Nolan Elementary principal Kenneth Barker and Lookout Mountain Elementary principal Paula Gossett have also announced their intentions to retire at the end of the school year.

The vacancies are expected to attract interest from several current Hamilton County principals to what one School Board member calls "the most sought-after principal jobs in the county."