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Arlington School District honors retirees
ARLINGTON The Arlington School District said farewell June 4 to 15 retiring employees with more than 377 combined years of educational service between them.
Two of its honorees have traditionally conducted the annual ceremonies honoring retirees. Outgoing ASD Superintendent Linda Byrnes gave her fellow retirees copies of Maria Shriver's "Just Who Will You Be?" explaining that, after Shriver's husband became governor of California, she was no longer able to work as a journalist, so she had to figure out who she was, independent of what she did for a living. Byrnes drew parallels between Shriver and the retirees in this regard.
ASD Board of Directors member Carolyn Erickson then paid tribute to Byrnes' career, which included 31 years in education and 12 years in Arlington.
"She's done so much for our kids," Erickson said. "We were one of the first school districts to have student board members. She got our administrative staff to volunteer in the classrooms and she gets to go out as state Superintendent of the Year."
Haller Middle School Principal Eric DeJong pointed out that Haller Middle School secretary Sharon Glasson "has only had to train three principals" since being hired in Arlington 24 years ago. She started as a teacher's aide at Post Middle School.
"I'm not sure how we'll replace her," said DeJong, who cited Glasson's calmness and ability to draw up master schedules as among her assets.
Lynn Johnson was hired as a home and family living teacher at Arlington High School in 1971, before becoming the family and consumer science teacher at Weston High School. Weston High School Principal Maureen Stanton described the 28-year veteran of education as a "chameleon."
"Whenever we have discussions among our staff, she's always able to see the colors that are missing," Stanton said. "She's been at Weston almost since it opened."
AHS Career and Technical Education Director Brett Sarver recalled how he met future colleague Karen Timken 17 years ago, and how the 21-year educator had recruited him into the Arlington community.
"She was this really smart girl who put up with me and told me how great Arlington is," said Sarver of Timken, who was hired in Arlington in 1987. "She's run an outstanding DECA program on every level. Kids who had her still ask if she's here."
Sarver then presented Timken with an Arlington "letter" from the students.
Post Middle School science teacher Dory Maubach was absent, but her principal, Brian Beckley, summed her up as passionate about science and successfully imparting that enthusiasm to her students.
"Her goal was to rebuild that environmental center," Beckley said. "She would spend nights out there. She loves the outdoors."
Teresa Trivett has served as a gifted education teacher at Eagle Creek and Trafton elementary schools, as well as Post Middle School. Eagle Creek Elementary Principal Denise Putnam described her as someone whose "core values shine through everything she does." Putnam first met Trivett through her son.
"I appreciate what he became through contact with her," Putnam said of Trivett, who was hired in Arlington in 1970. "She says that she teaches gifted students, but that she is not a gifted teacher. I beg to differ."
AHS Principal Kurt Criscione commended AHS Athletic Director Allan Jefferson for the positive impact he's had in so many students' lives, since being hired in Arlington in 1987.
"His enthusiasm has contributed to a better school and a better community," Criscione said. "He's spent countless hours on our athletic programs and he's always willing to listen and share his ideas. He has compassion and a great sense of humor."
Jefferson received a rallying chorus from the musicians in attendance.
Trafton Elementary School Principal Ed Aylesworth recognized both Title I teacher Linda Andrews, hired in Arlington in 1997, and fourth-grade teacher Judy Donoghue, hired in Arlington in 1994.
Aylesworth shared Andrews' enjoyment of teaching at Trafton and added that she looks forward to spending more time gardening, traveling and seeing her grandchildren. He described her as "kind-hearted and flexible."
Aylesworth reported that Donoghue will spend at least part of her retirement quilting and catching up on Harry Potter.
"Her advice is to retire while people still think you're nice," Aylesworth laughed. "We've had a lot of new blood and Judy has been our anchor."
Presidents Elementary Principal Terri Bookey assembled a combined "100 years of teaching experience" when she called up reading specialist Ruth Duffy, first-grade teacher Judi Merz, second-grade teacher Anita Maguire and fourth-grade teacher Dorothy Larsen.
Bookey crowned Duffy a "data queen" and "a wealth of knowledge," while praising Merz as a great storyteller who "will always have a place in our hearts."
Bookey went on to describe Maguire as a firm but caring educator who pushes kids to do their best, just as she summed up Larsen as calm, conscientious and generous.
"Dot tells her kids, 'Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're usually right,'" Bookey said.
Carla Pirkle was singled out for her work with child welfare concerns with the school district, before Byrnes honored ASD Personnel Director Shirley Case.
"She's been such a wonderful resource that we're not sure who their next historian is going to be," Byrnes laughed. "All the administrative staff know her extension by heart. She's so talented and bright, and she's been absolutely essential."