As the school year comes to an end, we say goodbye to many talented colleagues who are wrapping up their careers in education and moving on to retirement. Congratulations to you all and thank you for your hard work and dedication over the years. You will be missed.
Atwood and Williams Retirees
By Jennifer McGee
Cindy Pierce has worked in RSU 18 for the past 16 years and currently serves as the Atwood Primary School Computer Integration Specialist.
Mrs. Pierce is best known for her kind and gentle manner with adults and with children.
Through all of the changes in technology over the years, she never seems frazzled or frustrated. She remains even and enthusiastic and is always willing to pitch in and help. She creates projects for the art shows, for holiday performances, and she always finds creative ways to push the children into 21st-century thinking!
Mrs. Pierce has also been in charge of our Atwood Awesome end-of-year video! She always does an outstanding job of capturing our entire school year in the form of photos, video clips, and songs. Her creations never fail to thrill the children and bring tears to the eyes of the staff.
Mrs. Pierce will be dearly missed at Atwood. We wish her joy, health, and happiness as she enters retirement, enjoying time to travel with her husband and giving her more time to spend with her children and grandchildren.
It is remarkable to think about all of the impact Cindy Woodard has had on the lives of the children and adults of Oakland for the past 36 years.
Mrs. Woodard began her term as a school counselor back in 1982. For the following four decades, she devoted herself to supporting children and families in order to help each child reach his or her highest potential. She taught classroom guidance to K through 5th grade. She partnered with the Family Violence Project to provide students with extra resources to prevent bullying. She worked with local churches to provide children with food on weekends and vacations through a “Backpack Program.” Mrs. Woodard also linked arms with Colby College and Big Brothers/ Big Sisters to make sure children were matched with mentors to give children wonderful role models to share their school journeys with!
In addition to classroom guidance, Mrs. Woodard created groups to help children who were experiencing grief and loss, to help enhance social skills, to navigate conflicts, or simply to supply positive playgroups. Mrs. Woodard also saw students for one on one counseling, giving each child what he or she would need for support.
Decade after decade, Mrs. Woodard worked with Oakland families and responded whenever there was a crisis: a fire, homelessness, a death, or any other number of circumstances. You could always be sure Mrs. Woodard would be on the scene to ensure the health and safety for “her children”.
Mrs. Woodard has been a mainstay at our schools for 36 years. Her historical understanding of our communities and families will be impossible to replace and she will be missed; however, we wish her the happiest and healthiest retirement. She deserves this time to explore new horizons!
China Primary School Retirees
By Darlene Pietz
Laura Jackson began teaching in a second-grade classroom at China Primary in 2002. Prior to coming to CPS, she had taught for several years in elementary schools in the Belfast area.
In 2013 Laura became our school librarian, bringing her love of books to all CPS students. She especially enjoys the works of Beatrix Potter and is a member of the Beatrix Potter Society. As a member, Laura has visited the home of Beatrix Potter in England and has traveled to different society events throughout England and the US. She shared with her students the sites, cultures, and history she encountered on her trips.
Laura enjoys traveling and has made more than one trip to Alaska where one of her two sons lives. In retirement, Laura plans to spend more time with family and friends, traveling, gardening, reading and looking for new adventures.
She will miss her students and school family, and we will miss being greeted by Peter Rabbit as we enter her library. We wish Laura the very best and hope she will come back to visit us and share a story or two.
James Bean Retirees
By Superintendent Carl Gartley
Dr. Nancy Reynolds began in our district in the fall of 1999 as Assistant Principal for the James H. Bean School and Belgrade Central School and was in that position for two years. In July of 2001, she became the JHB Principal and has been in that position ever since.
Consistency in school leadership is a luxury that many schools do not have. We have been fortunate to have Dr. Nancy Reynolds leading the James H. Bean School for so many years. Nancy is a caring and gifted educator who has quietly led her school to being one of the most successful in Central Maine. In just a quick walk through the halls on any day, you will see the results. Students are respectful, staff are smiling, and the classrooms are engaging, positive learning environments for kids. We often say in our district that our goal is to meet the needs of every student on every day in every school. Well at James H. Bean School, with the help of Dr. Reynolds strong leadership, we can say we did it. Thank you, Nancy.
A wonderful literacy team is also retiring from the James Bean School this spring.
Anna Quattrucci has been working in our district since 1986 and has been at the JHB since 2003. Jane Hillman was hired in 1992 and has been part of the reading program at JHB since 2004.
“Mrs. Anna Quattrucci and Mrs. Jane Hillman leave our school after 58 years of combined service,”said JHB Principal Dr. Nancy Reynolds. “Their true legacy is helping the most tangled readers crack the code to the English language. I have been in awe of the work they do and the priceless gift of reading they give to the students of JHB. I thank them for their service and wish them all the very best. They will be missed!”
By Mark Hatch
Paul Begley has been working as a middle school PE teacher in our district for 37 years. During that time he has coached numerous sports teams, lead the outing club, and developed and launched a peer tutoring program. He’s the mastermind behind the annual Winter Wonderland for the district’s kindergarten students, and the coordinator for the fall community service leaf raking project. Paul has brought a strong focus on life sports to MMS which encourages students to continue being active throughout their lives. He’s a supportive colleague who always enjoys sharing laughter with fellow staff members. He has contributed so much to the MMS community and he will be greatly missed.
Linda Hall was hired in 1982 to teach Home Economics at Williams Junior High School. Her task has shifted a few times over the year as the course changed to Family and Consumer Sciences in the late 90s, and she has spent the last 10 years as a health teacher at MMS.
Linda has the ability to teach sensitive subjects with an informational and supportive approach. She plans interesting and fun activities that students enjoy. We will miss Linda, and we wish her a wonderful retirement.
By Paula Callan
Stephanie Carter is retiring after 22 years as a Physical Education teacher at MHS. During that time she has introduced her students to a variety of activities that promote a balanced and healthy life, such as outdoor recreation, nutritional eating options, safe relationships, and the Bible Club. When I think of Stephanie Carter I think of a person who has a very calming presence, someone who advocates for all students, but really goes out of her way to help those who struggle. She seeks to find the good in everyone. Helping students achieve their optimal potential is a goal that Stephanie has for each of her students and she works tirelessly to see them reach that goal. We wish her a wonderful retirement. She will be miss.
Bill Smith, is retiring for the second time. He was gracious enough to join us for another year when we couldn’t find another Tech Trades teacher. He has made strong connections with kids who are not always engaged in the “traditional” side of school for a variety of reasons. The work that he is able to get from his students is amazing. His talent and commitment to MHS will be missed.
Stephanie Begley started working for the district in 1981 as a second-grade teacher at James Bean. She then worked as a Kindergarten teacher at JHB and Atwood before returning to her original position in 1997. For the last 13 years, she has worked as the district’s Everyday Math Coach. Her coworkers appreciate her contagious positive attitude, her compassion for staff and students, and her commitment to giving her best each and every day. “Students love her because of the relationships she fosters and the way that she makes learning fun,” said WES Principal Melanie Smith. “Professionally, she’s done an outstanding job organizing and managing the district Title 1 math program. She has made a lasting impact on the RSU 18 school community and will be greatly missed by all!”
Donna Pullen is retiring after being a bus driver in our district for 50 years! Back in the 60s Donna agreed to help out with a bus route for a couple of weeks and fell in love with the job. In 2014 she was named the Above and Beyond Maine Bus Driver of the Year by the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation and the Department of Education. Donna is a dedicated professional who genuinely cares about each and every student who climbs aboard her bus. She will be dearly missed by the district and the community as a whole. Thank you for all your years of dedication and hard work.