At the end of the 2016 school year, Beecher Road School will lose at least four of its long-time teachers, School Supt. Dr. Guy Stella announced at the March Woodbridge Board of Education meeting. Retiring are Adrienne Coleman, a Kindergarten teacher; Larry Hurwitz, long-time Extended Day director and technology team member; sixth-grade teacher Joseph Holowienko and phys ed teacher Sandra Simowitz. [Dr. Stella earlier in the year also had announced his intention to retire at the end of the year, and a search for a new superintendent is under way.]
“Powerful teachers, powerful educators,” commented Dr. Stella. “These four people represent the best that we have.” All of them having assumed leadership roles in different aspects beyond the classroom, their influence has impacted the culture of the school, which is one of caring and learning, Dr. Stella said. “These are the people who really helped create Beecher Road School,” he said.
Coleman became a Kindergarten teacher in 1987, after having served as a teacher’s aide. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2005 and 2006. “When I came I was going to be a TA for a couple of years, then go back to writing,” she said at the board meeting. “But I fell in love with this place.” So she stayed for 30 years instead.
Holowienko has been teaching fifth and sixth grade since 1997. He has served on math and science committees and helped create the after-school Math Club as well as a Robotics League. He came to teaching after a career in the corporate world. He has been known to visit each and every household of the students in his classroom.
Hurwitz was instrumental in developing the Beecher Road Technology Center. He also led the Extended Day after-school program, “a unique part of who we are as a school,” Dr. Stella said.
Simowitz also has been with the school since 1987. Whenever there is a school-wide event, her fingerprints are all over it, Dr. Stella said. She has been involved with committee work and served on the Woodbridge Education Association.
“You all leave a very, very rich legacy,” Dr. Stella addressed the four who were in attendance at the meeting. “Thank you for all you’ve done, for the model and expectations you’ve set,” he said.
Hurwitz addressed the board, saying in the 30-or-so years at Beecher, he has seen lots of boards of education and administrators. The school is in the best shape its ever been, he said. “I feel good about leaving now.”
As for Simowitz, “you are losing me as a teacher, but you are not losing me as a member of the community,” she said.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent