2015-06-12 / Community News

School district salutes longtime staffers

Board of education, district leaders recognize staff members for their service
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


The Board of Education spent time during its meeting Thursday, June 4 to honor this year’s crop of retirees, which include: Jay Vance, Valerie Razsa, Judy Campbell, Rachel Howard, Jeanne Kelley, Miriam Collins, Elizabeth Waldron, Leslie Fleming and Gerry Hebert. Bob Foster, Jeanne King and Bogdan Kurlanski were unable to make the meeting. (Michael Kelley photo) The Board of Education spent time during its meeting Thursday, June 4 to honor this year’s crop of retirees, which include: Jay Vance, Valerie Razsa, Judy Campbell, Rachel Howard, Jeanne Kelley, Miriam Collins, Elizabeth Waldron, Leslie Fleming and Gerry Hebert. Bob Foster, Jeanne King and Bogdan Kurlanski were unable to make the meeting. (Michael Kelley photo) The Board of Education said goodbye to 12 longtime staff members who have given more than 360 combined years to Scarborough schools.

As the retirees wrap up the final weeks of their final school year, some have planned to stay close, while others have plans to travel with their newfound free time.

Jeanne King, who has spent 38 years teaching in Scarborough, has already signed up to volunteer next year at Pleasant Hill Primary School to continue her connection to students. Elizabeth Waldron, retiring after 29 years in Scarborough, bought a recreational vehicle and plans to travel the country. Waldron has spent the last nine years as the special education testing secretary at Scarborough High School.


Miriam Collins receives a hug from Superintendent George Entwistle at a retirement ceremony at the Board of Education meeting last week. Collins retires after 42 years with Scarborough schools, the majority of which were spent at Blue Point Primary School. (Michael Kelley photos) Miriam Collins receives a hug from Superintendent George Entwistle at a retirement ceremony at the Board of Education meeting last week. Collins retires after 42 years with Scarborough schools, the majority of which were spent at Blue Point Primary School. (Michael Kelley photos) The meeting in which the Board of Education and school leaders bid adieu to retirees is always a bittersweet occasion.

“Not only do we greatly appreciate the time you’ve spent serving the students in our community and sorely are going to miss you., by the same token we are happy for you that you have a chance to go on to the next stage of life and enjoy retirement. We will be miss you greatly, but we are happy for you and wish you the best,” said Scarborough High School Principal David Creech as he honored two longtime high school English teachers, Jay Vance and Gerry Hebert.


Scarborough High School Principal David Creech congratulates Gerry Hebert for his 43 years at Scarborough High School. Over that time, Hebert has taught senior English, as well as speech and debate. Hebert was instrumental in bringing advance placement classes to the school. Scarborough High School Principal David Creech congratulates Gerry Hebert for his 43 years at Scarborough High School. Over that time, Hebert has taught senior English, as well as speech and debate. Hebert was instrumental in bringing advance placement classes to the school. Hebert has taught at the high school for 43 years, as well as leading the debate team for the last 11 years. Assistant Principal Sue Ketch said Hebert was instrumental in bringing an “AP curriculum to Scarborough High School before AP was a fad.”

“Gerry has been a great addition. I am sad to see him go,” Ketch said.

Vance started teaching at Scarborough High School in 1999, after working as a job coach in the special education department. He was an assistant football coach from 1999 to 2002, winning the school’s only Class B football title in his final year.

Ketch said Vance initiated the rebirth of the school newspaper after years of dormancy.

Scarborough Middle School Principal Barbara Hathorn said one of the school’s retirees, Rachel Howard, who is retiring after 27 years in the district, has been “vital to the dayto day operation of the school” by handling announcements, busing, mail, purchase orders, report cards and scheduling.

Leslie Fleming is retiring after 16 years at Wentworth School, while her colleague Valerie Razsa is retiring after 27. The school would have been a different place without their contributions.

“Leslie works to create experiences in her classroom where students can work collaboratively on projects and encourages her students to take responsibility for their learning. Students leave her classroom with a deep curiosity of the world,” Wentworth School Principal Kelli Crosby said of Fleming who, aside from being a teacher, has worked as a musician, journalist, biologist and researcher.

Crosby said Razsa is a “passionate world citizen who brings international awareness to her students” and has instilled “a love of learning and thirst for knowledge” in her students.

“It is safe to say we are all better because of Val Razsa’s contributions,” she said.

Anne Cass, the assistant principal for Blue Point and Pleasant Hill schools, said Miriam Collins, a second-grade teacher, has been a “tireless worker and fierce advocate for students” during her 42 years in Scarborough schools, the bulk of which has been spent at Blue Point.

School leaders and member of the Board of Education are not the only members of the Scarborough community highlighting Collins for her long educational tenure. Stan Bayley, owner of Bayley’s Seafood Restaurant and Bayley’s Ice Cream, across the Pine Point Road from Blue Point school, has named a new ice cream flavor in Collin’s honor. For years Collins has brought her students to the ice cream stand for an end-of-the-year treat. The new flavor, Collins Cookie Crunch, a chocolate/mint creation, will be available later this month.

This year’s middle school yearbook has been dedicated to Jeanne Kelley, who has been a gifted and talented math teacher at Scarborough Middle School since the late 1980s.

According to the dedication, Kelley “cultivates student interest in math and science” and “simply makes math fun.”

Next school year will make the first time in nearly 30 years that Judy Campbell will not be leading the nutrition program. Assistant Superintendent Jo Anne Sizemore said Campbell came to the district in 1986 after serving as a dietary director at hospitals and nursing homes. Sizemore said she has worked “diligently to bring nutrition into the classrooms” so students understand the importance of eating healthy.

Campbell, she said, was one of the first food service directors in the state to offer choice and ala carte options in school cafeterias. Campbell was commended in 2008 by 5-2-1-0, Let’s Go, a childhood obesity prevention program through the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center for her “participation, insight and direction” working with other food directors to implement the program in local schools.

Campbell has spoken at the White House about the importance of proper nutrition, and helped to start the backpack program in Scarborough.

“We would like to thank Judy for all of her wonderful accomplishments making our school nutrition programs a model for the state, Sizemore said.

Board of Education member Kelly Murphy said she appreciated all the retirees have done for Scarborough schools.

“I was lucky enough to have a lot of those teachers who retired and so did my kids,” she said. “They are wonderful teachers and added so much to the community for a lot of years.”

The Board of Education also honored 11 teachers who have passed the probationary period and will now be placed on continuing contracts. Those teachers include Jack Aceto (high school special education); Judy DeMucci (Wentworth social work); Claudia Dolan (high school Spanish); Lauren Fine (high school English); Erin Landry Fowler (high school art); Jennifer Libby (middle school physical education); Melissa Martinez (primary school nurse); Donna Metreaud (primary English as a second language teacher); Rene Nyanutse (high school French); Toby Walch (high school science) and Dan Wiley (high school English).

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