Congratulations and Thank you to our 2021 Retirees

Every year it is bitter sweet to say goodbye to our colleagues who are moving into retirement and on to their next adventures. As always our administrative team wanted to take a few moments to show their gratitude and appreciation for our retiring staff members. 


After 36 years of devoted service, Christine Pillsbury is retiring from RSU#18.  She worked in all of the district’s schools with the exception of China before transferring to Belgrade Central where she has spent the last 26 years.  Christine started her journey volunteering in classrooms and coordinating the book fairs at the Atwood/Tapley school. She was asked to substitute and shortly after joined the special education team as an education technician.  In the late 1980’s Christine and her husband Roger played a vital role in reviving the Messalonskee All Sports Boosters.  Christine has always shared the motto “Every day is a new day” with fellow employees and the students. In her retirement, Christine hopes to spend more time with family and friends, gardening, golfing, swimming, sleeping in, and crafts.  Christine’s  loyalty, sense of humor, and tenacity to teach something new to every student with whom she crosses paths with will be irreplaceable.  We’ll miss you, Christine! Happy retirement!

James H Bean School

After 38 years of teaching the children of Sidney, Mrs. Leta Hill will retire from RSU 18. During her tenure at JHB, Mrs. Hill filled various roles including Special Education teacher, part-time kindergarten teacher, first grade teacher, second grade teacher, math and reading interventionist and finally teaching first grade remotely. Mrs. Hill enjoyed a challenge…finding ways to help tangled learners grow, and most recently teaching students who were remote. Mrs. Hill will miss interacting with the children, seeing their smiles and witnessing their genuine acts of kindness. Additionally, she will miss her James Bean family. “There is no other place quite like it. I have been blessed to work with such a committed and dedicated staff, who truly care about each other! She and her husband, Tommy, are looking forward to spending more time with their two daughters and their four grandchildren. She is especially excited to spend her mornings on the deck of her camp on Moosehead Lake enjoying a cup of coffee. James H. Bean won’t be the same without Mrs. Leta Hill. Thank you for your dedication to James H. Bean, Leta!

RSU 18 will send Mr. Jim Genest off into retirement after sixteen years of service. Mr. Genest began his work as a custodian at the Atwood School, where he spent three years. He transferred to James H. Bean in 2008. For the last thirteen year, Mr. Jim worked the night shift during the school year and always looked forward to working the day shift during the summer months. He will miss his fellow custodians, and feels that they are “good crew.” Mr. Jim looks forward to spending more time with his family, and being able to watch more of the New England sports’ teams. He hasn’t ruled out possibly finding a part-time job to keep himself busy! Thank you for your commitment to James H. Bean, Jim!

Williams Elementary 

Gwen Tracy worked for RSU 18 for 34 years.

Gwen’s last day at Williams Elementary School was December 22.  Our entire school community wished her well with a special red carpet exit.  The red carpet was lined with staff and students who clapped and shared farewell wishes as we all celebrated Gwen’s years of dedication to our school.  When you entered Williams Elementary, with Gwen in the kitchen, you would always be greeted with the most amazing smells as Gwen was busy preparing breakfast  and lunch for our students and staff.  Gwen made the most delicious blueberry cake!  Gwen was one of the first people to our school each day and she was often the first staff member to greet our students.  Gwen would always greet our students with a smile and wish them a fabulous day.  At lunch time you would always see Gwen checking in with students always asking how their day was going.  Gwen genuinely cared for the staff and students at Williams and would go above and beyond to make sure everyone had a wonderful day and always a delicious meal.

China Middle School

After 28 years of dedicated service, Debra Michaud, China Middle School’s Head Cook & Nutrition Supervisor is setting her sights on a well-deserved retirement.  Throughout her years of employment, Debbie has worked in the kitchen at China Primary School and China Middle School.  Debbie took great pride in serving the students throughout the years. She knew each child well and was pleased to see the smiles on the students’ faces when she’d make them their favorite meals or baked goods. 

When asked what she will miss most about leaving China Middle School, she said “I am going to miss the kids, the staff, Timmy Roddy (he did so much for me) and mostly my co-worker, Julie Hopkins (she is a GREAT WORKER).  I am going to miss my job so much. I loved it.”

This will be the first summer in many years that Debbie has not worked.  She is looking forward to enjoying the Maine summers.  Anyone that knows Debbie, knows her love of the ocean!  Chances are if you are at the Rockland Breakwater or Popham Beach this summer, you will see Debbie there.  She also loves to read and swim but most of all, she is looking forward to spending time with her 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren.  

All of us at China Middle School will never forget the contributions and dedication Debbie has made to our school.  She will be greatly missed!  We wish her all the best during her retirement years.  

Messalonskee High School 

When you think of the MHS Performing Arts Center you are sure to envision Sue Perrino standing on the stage reminding us to take our hats off and to leave our beverages outside the PAC. Mrs. Perrino has played a critical role in bringing top entertainment to the central Maine area over the past two decades. Everyone from the The Glenn Miller Orchestra to the Andrei Bossov Ballet Theatre have performed in the PAC. The events that Mrs. Perrino has covered are too numerous to list but I have no doubt that she found great pleasure in watching the MHS players as well as our chorus and band members perform. We will certainly miss her smiling face, high energy level and dedication to the students of MHS. I have no doubt that she and Mrs. Stevens will be traveling the roads and having a good ol’ time during their retirement. 

Brenda Stevens has been a mainstay in the guidance office for quite some time. As a member of the RSU18 community Brenda has deep roots in the area and knows just about everyone. If we needed to know the name of a relative of one of our students Mrs. Stevens was the go to person. She would know their grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and even their cousins! As the registrar Brenda has registered several hundred if not thousands of students and she has always been a welcoming ambassador to the new students and their families. Family is very important to Mrs. Stevens and I am sure that she will enjoy being able to spend her “free” time with them whenever the occasion arises.

The MHS athletic department is going to truly miss Becky Fisher. For twenty four years Mrs. Fisher has kept multiple athletic administrators in line! She has been the go to person for the coaching staff and players whenever a question or request came up. Bus requests, rescheduling of games, paying officials, ordering equipment, liaison with the All Sports Boosters, are a few of the responsibilities that consumed her day. Whoever the new secretary is I am sure that they will have Mrs. Fisher on speed as their phone a friend.

One of the most caring and generous teachers here at MHS has been Tommy Hill. As an athletic administrator he dedicated many hours to ensuring that our student athletes had the best of everything: uniforms, game schedules, celebrations and recognitions. He was their biggest fan and rarely missed a game. In the world of coaching he was a fierce competitor, challenging his players to perform at their optimal level. Leaving the world of coaching was not an easy decision and it wasn’t many years later when he began the Unified Basketball program. You could tell that he had a special connection with the student athletes and they truly enjoyed playing for him. In the classroom Mr. Hill was in his element. His wit and bantering caught his students off guard and they would often have to “think” about what he just said before it clicked for them. Many students have said that they miss Mr. Hill and as a teacher that is the highest compliment one could receive. In retirement Mr. Hill plans to spend time with his grandchildren and just enjoy his free time.

Mr. McGowan has been a fixture as an ed tech in our district for many years. Everyday is a great day when you have the opportunity to interact with Mr. McGowan. His students know that he cares deeply about them as evident by the smiles they have on their faces when they see him. Not one to be idle he has been overheard saying that he will be back to substitute in the fall. 

Although they have already “retired” Mr. and Mrs. Rhein are looking forward to their next adventure. Our music department is well known in the state and even worldwide due in part to their efforts. They have truly been invested in exposing their students to opportunities that many in our region will never experience. Both have dedicated the majority of their teaching career to the students of RSU18 and for that we will be forever grateful. 

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