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Congratulations to our 2017-18 retirees

Filed in Archive, District by on May 25, 2018

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Photo credit: Roger Bailey

On Thursday evening, May 24, Bethlehem Central administrators, faculty and staff gathered at Normanside Country Club to pay tribute to their colleagues who have retired or will retire in the 2017-18 school year. They are teachers, bus drivers, aides, buildings and grounds staff, and support staff who have been integral to the mission of the school district for many years. Many of the honorees were joined by family and friends for the special occasion. Together, this group has nearly 700 years of service to the students of Bethlehem.

The retirees were also joined by members of the Board of Education, and Superintendent Jody Monroe, who celebrated the retirees. Building principals and department supervisors were also on hand to share their special memories of these longtime employees and members of the BC family.

Superintendent Jody Monroe also paid special tribute to longtime Board of Education member Lynne Lenhardt, who decided not to run for an eleventh term in office. She will leave the board next month after 30 years.

All retirees who attended the reception were presented with a plaque and a copy of the written commemoration of their contributions to the Bethlehem Central School District. Those who could not attend will receive the same. You can read a bit of what was said below.

Congratulations, 2017-18 BC retirees! You will be missed. 

Diane W. Alston –  Occupational Therapist – 22 years of service – Elsmere

Diane treats students with compassion and respect, tirelessly advocating for those who cannot do so for themselves. She has had the unique experience of working in all of the district’s elementary schools.”

Donna Bailey – Special Education Teacher – 25 years of service – High School

Donna’s compassion and love for teaching is present daily. She consistently encourages her students to be the best that they can be.”

Debra Barnes-Breitenbach – Social Worker – 13 years of service – High School

Deb’s work is not only supported by the clinical skills she brings to the table but by the camaraderie she has experienced from working on a special education team.”

Susan Blank – School Monitor (SESS) – 12 years of service – Eagle

One of Sue’s greatest gifts is to see the good in each child and use this knowledge to help the student grow and succeed. She is full of smiles and laughs and approaches all challenges with the “glass is half full” philosophy. 

Gayle Caron-Moriarity – Guidance Counselor – 34 years of service – High School

Gayle’s passion for counseling and educating children has remained present throughout her career. Her professionalism and calm demeanor established Gayle as a leader and trusted voice of reason.”

Joan Ceas – Food Service Helper – 22 years of service – Slingerlands

“If you ask Joan what her favorite thing has been about working at Slingerlands, she is quick to tell you how much she loves the children and that she loves to cook.”

Salvatore Celeone – Custodial Worker – 31 years of service – High School

“Nothing phased Sal even when working nights at the high school.  His mild-mannered nature suited him well for the job  He knew everything about the custodial operations and had a good sense of judgment.”

Douglas Cochrane – Mechanic – 14 years of service – Transportation

Doug is a very good mechanic and brought his talent with him. Doug was always ready to help his fellow mechanics in any job that required assistance.”

Leonard Ditton – Bus Driver – 16 years of service – Transportation

“Over 16 years of driving a bus, Leonard has done a wonderful job. Leonard will be missed by all of us.”

Edward G. Gill – Science Teacher – 25 years of service – Middle School 

Ed is really good at getting students engaged in scienceand is a master of letting students observe the materials he puts in front of them and having them critically assess and report what they see.”

Linda Grimes-Picarazzi – Remedial Speech Teacher –  17 years of service – Middle School

Linda quite simply loves the study of learning and she shares this love with her students. Her ability to spin a story with both humor and grace makes her a favorite in classes and at the lunch table.”

Suzanne Hajeck – Elementary Teacher – 33 years of service – Hamagrael

When Sue announced her retirement, many former students and their parents called Hamagrael to thank Sue for being such a positive influence on them and for making their school experience a positive one.”

Mary Jane Hendron – Sr. Keyboard Specialist – 23 years of service – High School

Jane’s expertise in the main office will be missed greatly but not as much as her personality. There will be a void at BCHS next year without Jane.”

Lori A. Hill – School Monitor (SESS) – 17 years of service – Glenmont

Lori’s patient nature and ability to coordinate with classroom teachers and service providers have made her a valuable member of every team. If you need someone who can remain calm in a crisis, she’s the one.”

John Holmberg – Custodial Worker – 21 years of service – Middle School

Over the years, John remained determined to do his best to contribute to the cleanliness of the school building.”

Mary C. Lane – Science Teacher – 21 years of service – High School

“Mary is an exemplary teacher in every aspect. Her room is always packed after school. Not only with students that need help but with students who are waiting to go to sports or students who simply want a nice place to be until 3 p.m.”

Deborah Mudge – School Monitor (SESS) -16 years of service – Slingerlands

Helping students with disabilities navigate classroom work and helping them meet their personal goals has been Deb’s mission.”

Bonnie O’Shea – Elementary Teacher – 18 years of service – Slingerlands

Bonnie is truly gifted in so many ways and has an unquenchable thirst for learning! She has a gift for making every child feel important and special.”

David Picard – Bus Driver – 13 years of service – Transportation 

As an employee and co-worker Dave was helpful and courteous to everyone. As for his interactions with the students he drove, all we ever heard from parents was the good job he did.”

Patrick Pisanello – Music Teacher – 31 years of service – Eagle & Middle School

Generations of BC students will remember Mr. P for his passion for classical music. His reverence for musical masters of the 18th, 19th and 20th century has fueled his all-encompassing knowledge of their works.”

John Pittz – Bus Driver – 17 years of service – Transportation

For 17 years, John has been a dedicated driver who enjoyed the students he worked with. If the department was involved in any initiative involving students, John was there for them.”

Kathryn V. Raffe – Elementary Teacher – 17 years of service – Slingerlands

Kathy has devoted her heart and soul to helping and teaching young children. Instilling a love of learning in her students has always been her primary goal.”

Arlene Rappoccio – School Monitor (SESS) – 15 years of service – Glenmont 

Arlene loves children and always puts her heart and soul into helping them be successful. She understands how to talk to children and how to help them become independent learners.”

Daniel Reil – Custodial Worker – 11 years of service – Middle School

Daniel can make a difficult job look easy. He will be missed at the middle school when he retires in June.”

Patricia S. Rider – Math Teacher – 18 years of service – Middle School

“Patricia “Patti” Rider has made math accessible to students of all abilities and interests. Patti, quite simply stated, has remained a champion of ALL students throughout her 18 years with BC.”

Barbara Riegel – Elementary Teacher – 26 years of service – Eagle

“Barb is about making the world a better place and teaching children to do the same. She is indeed the change we want to see in the world, and we will greatly miss the positive impact and endless compassion that she has given to BC for the last 27 years.”

Jody A. Rosenberger – English Teacher – 26 years of service – Middle School

“A master of the craft of writing, not to mention readingit is Jody’s warmth and strength of character that are predominant in all of her interactions.”

Susan Rowan – Special Education Teacher – 24 years of service – Elsmere

As a teacher, Sue has given her students more than simply a new way of learning she has given children and their families hope, confidence and integritythe first steps to success later in life.”

Oakley Salisbury III – Automotive Mechanic – 17 years of service – Transportation

Oakie came to Bethlehem from the Albany County Highway Department and their loss was our gain. He is an excellent mechanic who thrives on solving issues the manufacturer can not.”

Mary F. Sheevers -Special Education Teacher – 14 years of service – High School 

“Mary has made lifelong connections with her students. We have been fortunate to have Mary on our team and will miss not only her festive sweaters but also her smile.”

Colleen G. Sieme – Art Teacher – 26 years of service – Glenmont & Slingerlands

“Colleen has been an invaluable member of the Slingerlands family. In fact, her husband Warren is an honorary member of our staff as well! Colleen will be remembered for her contagious smile, kindness, and the dedication she has to her students.”

Margaret Wyanski – CSE Chair – 7 years of service – District

“Meg’s compassion and gentle demeanor proved to be the right fit for families who were referring their child for services for the first time. We will miss Meg’s calming personality and her sweet laugh.”

Robin W. Young – Physical Education Teacher – 24 of service – Slingerlands

“Robin personifies the Slingerlands’ motto of ‘Always Our Best.’ Robin is a strong advocate for physical activity and is committed to helping every single child develop the skills needed for a physically active life.”