Bev Downing knew she wanted to get into the "family business" when she went to college at the Ohio State University.

Bev Downing knew she wanted to get into the "family business" when she went to college at the Ohio State University.

After all, her mother and grandfather had paved the way for her.

So it was no surprise to members of the family when Downing, followed by her three sisters, decided to pursue teaching as a career.

Downing started teaching in Lakewood, Ohio. She has no regrets about the occupation she pursued for more than 24 years, 21 of them with the Canal Winchester Local School District.

She retired June 30 and stepped down as the beloved principal of Indian Trail Elementary School -- the school where she also once served as a guidance counselor and assistant principal.

"They kept me alive in spirit," she said of the children she met during her career. "They came in that door ready to learn and they were always happy to be there. The kids and the parents were just so wonderful. I felt so blessed to have that building."

Downing wasn't the only one who felt blessed. CWLSD Superintendent Kimberley Miller-Smith said the principal known for her laughter will be missed when the school year begins.

"She is a true team player who cared deeply for her students and their families," Miller-Smith said. "A consummate professional, Mrs. Downing stayed abreast of educational trends and best practices to provide the highest quality of education for each of our students."

Downing passed the family tradition on to one of her three daughters, who is a physical education teacher at Canal Winchester Middle School.

Her other children also are highly involved with helping people; one is a social worker and the other is a police officer.

She advises new teachers that while it is important to have their certifications, it is equally important to "be yourself" in the classroom.

"You have to stand up for what you believe in and you have to be a good team player," Downing said. "If you can do those things, that's success."

While she said it will be difficult for her not to go back to school in August with the students, Downing plans to spend time researching her family genealogy.

"I've been doing that for years and I'm putting my family stories together in my book," she said. "I also write articles for some history magazines."

Downing also plans to help her daughter with some programs for middle school girls.