Newly installed Woodbridge School Supt. Dr. Jonathan Budd at the December meeting of the Board of Education announced a number of teacher retirements to occur at the end of this school year. Retiring are long-time teacher Peter Halsey, math specialist Jean Molot, Kindergarten teacher Jeanne Dempsey, and Library Media specialist Lori Patrick.; also, teaching assistants Jill Brostrom and Marie Sposa; and administrative assistant Judy Mays.
“Together, they represent 183 years of dedicated service to the Woodbridge School District,” Dr. Budd said. He emphasized how he had been compelled by the excellence of Beecher staff, including the experience and expertise represented by these individuals. “The observations I will share are informed by my impressions, as well as input from Principal Analisa Sherman, Assistant Principal Doreen Merrill, and Director of Special Services, Cheryl Kiesel, who join with me in expressing their bittersweet feelings at announcing these retirements.
Judy Mays will be retiring after 17 years of dedicated service as administrative assistant for the Special Services Department. Judy has been called the “backbone” of that department, knowing every family’s preferences, and keeping every aspect of the department’s functioning very well-organized.
Marie Sposa will be retiring after 32 years of dedicated service as a teaching assistant. Marie is universally described as dedicated to her work, including arriving early and responding promptly to all requests for assistance.
Jill Brostrom will be retiring after 34 years of dedicated service as a teaching assistant. Jill’s knowledge and organization has supported many aspects of Beecher, including its library media center, where she was always willing to lend a hand.
Jean Molot will be retiring after 16 years of dedicated service as a math specialist. Characterized as deeply knowledgeable and passionate about math, Jean has cared deeply for the students with whom she has worked. She has also helped our classroom teachers develop curriculum and assessment resources for math that have evolved as our state and national standards have advanced.
Lori Patrick will be retiring after 24 years of dedicated service as a library media specialist. Lori’s dedication has helped make the Stella Library/Media Center the hub of the school that it is today. I am told that Lori could help any student find a book in which the student was interested, even when the request was crazy or bizarre or unique. In classrooms across our school, Lori’s expertise with book selection has been felt and appreciated.
Peter Halsey will be retiring after 26 years of dedicated service as a classroom teacher, most recently at grade 2. A regional and national expert on Responsive Classroom, Peter has brought to Beecher exactly those qualities important to that program: good listening, thoughtful reflection, interest in every single student and colleague to the person’s core. Peter’s incredible dedication to all aspects of the Beecher community has been unparalleled.
The board accepted the retirements, “with regret.” Board Chairman Lynn Piascyk , herself a long-time Beecher teacher, got emotional when acknowledging the vote. “It touches my heart,” to say farewell to longtime friends and colleagues. “But I must tell them, retirement is filled with wonderful opportunities,” she said.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent