Congratulations, 2023-24 BC retirees!

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This year, 30 longtime employees with a combined service of more than 650 years will leave BC after dedicating their careers to public service and to serving the children of the Bethlehem Central School District. On Wednesday, May 29, a reception was held at Garden Bistro 24 in Slingerlands to celebrate this year’s retirees. 

The retirees were welcomed by Superintendent Jody Monroe, Board President Holly Dellenbaugh, along with administrators and department supervisors who were on hand to honor them. 

Below, learn more about this extraordinary group of people as we say farewell, and thank you!

2023-24 BCSD Retirees

Maureen Bastian – Physical Therapist (28 years)

“Many of us have witnessed Maureen’s compassion firsthand when describing a student’s strengths and needs. She consistently fosters independence for her students while communicating goals for them with transparency, honesty, and a realism that connects with families and maintains trust.”

Sharleen Brennan – School Bus Driver (19 years)

“Sharleen was quiet, unassuming, and flew under the radar but don’t think she didn’t know exactly what was going on…. with everyone. Safety was Sharleen’s top priority. Sharleen learned the rules long ago and stuck with them. She never once became complacent. We will miss her.”

Beth Callahan – Registered Nurse (25 years)

“Beth has the knowledge of the school community and culture that will be hard to replace. Whether it was students she saw on a daily basis or maybe just once, Beth made a lasting impression on each and every one. Thank you for all you have done for the health of students in the district.”

Brian Carl – School Bus Driver (32 years)

“A mother in the district had this to say about Brian, ‘I was grateful for this driver who not only remembered my children but remembered them fondly. What this driver did not know was that he was the first school-related face they saw each day and he made their day special not knowing how difficult their lives were at the time. They were in great hands with Brian.’”

Heidi DeBerry – Noon Aide (19 years)

“Heidi has been an MVP among noon aides. Every morning, she makes it a point to be there for every child. In addition, she makes an effort to support her team, whether covering for a missing colleague or helping to train a new hire. She loves children and always puts her heart and soul into helping them. She is a dedicated professional who has given Glenmont children her absolute best.”

Anuar Dominguez – Automotive Mechanic (16 years)

“Anuar holds a 5-year perfect score on DOT inspections….this is absolutely staggering! He prepares carefully for these inspections with great success. Anuar is the definition of ‘The Bethlehem Way’ and it shows. We will miss you. Good luck in your retirement.”

Nicholas Ferguson – Social Studies Teacher (21 years)

“Those who know Nick are inspired by his habits of mind and willingness to go above and beyond. His professionalism, kindness, and integrity are unmatched, and his presence within our high school, and the Bethlehem community, is truly a blessing.”

Gary Halbedel – Senior Network and Systems Technician (13 years)

“Gary has always held remarkable composure under pressure. In the face of daunting technical challenges or unexpected crises, he has remained calm, cool, and collected, even as others may not be. It’s this ability to stay grounded amidst chaos that has not only kept our systems running smoothly but has also served as an inspiration to us all.”

Cheryl Hannigan – Aide to Students with Disabilities (18 years)

“One cannot speak of Cheryl’s legacy without mentioning her unwavering positivity. Regardless of the challenges that we faced, Cheryl walked through those doors every morning with a smile on her face and a song in her heart, uplifting everyone around her.”

Susan Hilliard – Aide to Students with Disabilities (19 years)

“Sue’s dedication extends beyond academic support; she invests heart and soul into building meaningful, personal connections with each of her students. Her approach is a perfect blend of encouragement and expectation, inspiring respect and admiration from her students who strive to meet her high standards. Sue’s approach is always one of care, compassion, connection and joy.”

Dawn Houck – Food Service Team Member (29 years)

“Dawn’s unique sense of humor, reliability, and wonderful rapport with the students have made her an indispensable part of the Food Service team. Over the years, she has done more than just serve meals; she has nurtured and cared for generations of students, making sure they had nutritious food to fuel their bodies and minds.”

Venessa Ingraham – Secretary  (22 years)

“Venessa is a joy to work with. Over the years, she served as a positive role model for students and personally mentored a student who graduated because of her mentorship. Her quick wit and smile helped many students feel at home in the counseling center. One of her famous phrases we will miss is ‘Have a good one.’ Congratulations Venessa, you will be missed, and ‘Have a good one!”’

Kimberly Irwin – Special Education Teacher  (30 years)

“Kim’s gift is her communication with families. She has been instrumental in advocating for her students to be in the most appropriate learning environment. Families often struggle with the idea of less or more support for their child, yet Kim’s knowledge of her students has given families the comfort needed to make these positive changes.”

Jeffrey Klamka – World Languages Teacher  (31 years)

“Jeff is equal part tactician, child whisperer, sage, entertainer, story-teller, and master teacher. A world traveler with a special ‘joie de vivre’ that is infectious to those around him. His passion for his content has inspired multiple students to travel abroad with him and bringing his classroom to life for them.”

Margaret (Peggy) LaChapelle – Aide to Students with Disabilities (13 years)

“Peggy was a gifted aide to students with disabilities with her calm, measured approach with students, even those who were in crisis. Not only did her excellent communication skills and collaborative approach mean she could work with everyone, but she also understood the concept of providing support for students and then fading so they could develop their own independence.”

Durray Mahmood – Mathematics Teacher (24 years)

“Throughout her tenure, Mrs. Mahmood has been a pillar of our mathematics department, devoting the majority of her time to teaching some of the most challenging courses offered at BC. Her extensive knowledge and unwavering passion for the subject have left an unforgettable mark on countless students, many of whom continue to rave about her influence and inspiration as they embark on their collegiate journeys.”

Annmarie Marsh – Registered Nurse (26 years)

“We have watched Annmarie tackle delicate situations with candor and grace. Annmarie has the unique ability to lend parents a compassionate ear while explaining the educational and medical process in school. It is obvious that parents and students trust Annmarie’s expertise and explanations.”

Sharon McCurdy – Special Education Teacher (17 years)

“Approachable, relaxed and friendly, Sharon has the rare gift of being able to connect with anyone. In working with students, Mrs. McCurdy maintains a consistently gentle and encouraging manner. She establishes the supportive and safe environment which allows students to reveal their learning needs. She is a gifted teacher to be sure.”

Michael Mysliwiec – Mathematics Teacher (22 years)

“Throughout his tenure, Mike has been a true innovator in the classroom, seamlessly blending his love of music with his mathematics lessons to create engaging and memorable learning experiences for his students. Mike’s creative approach has inspired a love for learning that extends far beyond the confines of the classroom.”

Laurie Nolan – Physical Education Teacher (28 years)

“What an impact Laurie Nolan has made. Laurie is an exceptionally creative educator. Every year she turns the gym into a city with roads marked with tape that the students navigate on little scooters. Her Scooter City could just stop there, but no: she adds a drive-in movie, a car wash, stop signs, cell phones, driver’s licenses, you name it! Scooter City is one of the most beloved physical education units that high school students reminisce about when they visit Glenmont.”

Paul O’Reilly – Science Teacher (29 years)

“Paul worked hard to get the most recent equipment in students’ hands to engage them in authentic science. Paul also led the very competitive and successful Science Bowl and Masterminds teams for many years and helped revive the Science Olympiad team to be a formidable force in the area. Paul’s contribution to the district, the community and our healthcare system by preparing students for careers in science will carry on for many years to come.”

Maria Patti – School Monitor – Clerical (22 years)

“Throughout her time at Bethlehem CSD, Maria has exemplified professionalism, commitment, and a genuine passion for her work. Maria’s unwavering dedication to her students and colleagues has left an indelible mark on our community, and for that, we are immensely grateful.”

Nick Petraccione – Social Studies and Business Education Supervisor (18 years)

“A teacher had this to say about Nick: ‘The way Nick cares about us, both as teachers and human beings, is unrivaled. From the start of my time at Bethlehem, he has been nothing but supportive, kind, and genuinely interested in how he can help. Nick understands how to best meet the needs of teachers and students. Whenever Nick stops by my classroom I tell my students ‘Say hello to my favorite person at Bethlehem.’”

Patricia Quirk – Elementary Teacher (28 years)

“There were many parents, who after having one child assigned to Patty’s class, crossed their fingers hoping that their second or third child would also be so lucky. Patty certainly brought joy to the classroom, making children feel safe, valued and respected. It’s hard to think about not seeing Patty’s smiling face at Glenmont School every morning.”

Larry Salisbury – School Bus Driver (17 years)

“The Bethlehem bus garage family will always be here for Larry. Larry always had a funny story; he would draw you in with his hook and capture your undivided attention. Larry loved being a Bethlehem bus driver.”

Scott VanHoesen – Automotive Mechanic (30 years)

“Scotty is a long-standing, 30-year-strong senior mechanic, and is our Mr. Dependable. He is a great co-worker and is the go-to guy for information or facts on past practices and local history. Scotty is truly a team player!”

Mark Warford – Assistant Principal (16 years)

“We love that Mark’s passion walks out ahead of him for all things centered around environmental stewardship. In our Character Strengths work, one of Mark’s strengths that comes through in all he does is ZEST, which means having great energy and enthusiasm. For Mark, zest is not something he turns on and off… it’s always ON.”

Mary White – Science Teacher (7 years)

“Mrs. White can take any student and transform them into willing high achievers in her classroom. Her ability to modify curriculum and make chemistry understandable for all students is second to none and we have been lucky to have her in this role, one she loves so much, for this long.”

Kimberly Wise – Mathematics Teacher (30 years)

“As we bid farewell to Kim Wise, we acknowledge that our halls and classrooms will not be the same without her presence. While we will miss her infectious enthusiasm and unwavering dedication, we take comfort in knowing that Kim’s influence will continue to resonate with those whose lives she has touched.”

Cynthia Young – Aide to Students with Disabilities (16 years)

“Cindy emanates a glow of youthful fun. She is quick to laugh, especially at herself when she struggles to solve the 5th grade riddles in her classroom. But she never gives up! And on Dress Like a Book Character Day, only Cindy could get away with wearing little ears and tee-shirt that says ‘Pooh.’ The kids adore her fun spirit.”