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Joyce Endee

School district honors eight retiring employees



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AFTER 33 YEARS of working within the Governor Wentworth Regional School District retiree Connie Thompson, who most recently worked as a Title I Associate and Tutor at Ossipee Central School, was recognized at the annual retirement reception held this past Monday, May 23. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
May 26, 2011
WOLFEBORO — Eight retirees were honored at the Governor Wentworth Regional School District Retirement Reception on Monday, May 23.

A combined 165 years of service to the district was celebrated with refreshments provided by the vocational education culinary program, brief introductions given by Superintendent Jack Robertson, congratulations and a gift from the school board, and words of gratitude and appreciation spoken by each employees' supervisor or school principal.

Filling a portion of the Skylight Dining Room attendees congratulated Diane Schuette, Barbara Reed, Patricia Vanderhoef, Paula Dickinson, Connie Thompson, Mary Valley, and Bill Welsh for their dedication to the district over the years. Also recognized was Dot Robarts, who retired earlier in the school year and was unable to attend the reception, for 40 years of working in the school district.

Robarts, who spent all of her professional years at the Kingswood Regional High School, began her career with Governor Wentworth in 1971, Robertson shared. Serving at times as the school district clerk, the secretary to the school board, and then in the main office of the high school, Robarts was witness to generations of family members as they grew up in and graduated from the high school.

"As a dedicated employee she is someone who we truly admire and are so grateful for her sharing so much of her life with us," said Robertson before giving high school Principal Guy Donnelly the floor.

Donnelly added that Robarts "was a great historian of Kingswood who had a lot of pride in the school and the district."

"She knew everything about everybody who came through those doors," he joked, adding that Robarts believed now to be a good time to leave so that she could remember Kingswood the way it was before the expansion project took over entirely.

Another lengthy career will come to conclusion this June when Connie Thompson retires after 33 years working for the district. Following 17 years working as an elementary teacher Thompson has spent the past 16 as a part of the district's support staff. During this time she worked as a part-time secretary for the special education department where, Robertson said, "she quickly earned the reputation as someone who approaches tasks in an organized and orderly manner," and more recently as a Title I associate and tutor at Ossipee School.

Reiterating Robertson's comment that "her kind and caring ways will missed by all," Ossipee Central Principal Elizabeth Hertzfeld added that they are not quite ready to give her up and would be trying to get her involved in a lesser role with the school.

It has been 28 years since Diane Schuette began her career with the district as a teacher at Effingham Elementary School. Like Thompson, Schuette is "an extremely kind and thoughtful person who will be missed." Effingham Principal Lisa Tremblay described her coworker as "firm, but loving and consistent," someone that both students and parents really enjoyed working with.

"When you look up the word 'organization' in the dictionary you will see a picture of Diane," Tremblay said of Schuette, who was prone to reminding the principal of deadlines for different forms.

Another lady whose hard work hasn't gone unnoticed is New Durham School Principal Barbara Reed, who will also be retiring this summer.

Robertson said of one of the nicest people he's ever met, "We've had the pleasure of having Barbara for 18 years caring for our students… she has always been an advocate for the children."

Also retiring after 18 years is Willard "Bill" Welsh of the Transportation Department. As the district's designated "floater driver" Welsh "never complains and just goes about his usual day," said Robertson. Whether getting students safely to and from school, transporting them on a field trip or to an athletic event, Welsh is known to be dependable and up for the challenge of wherever his day might take him.

Mary Valley spent 13 years with the district as the special education secretary.

Of Valley Robertson said, "Mary became extremely knowledgeable about special education law, she understood the forms and the compliance issues. She was extremely efficient and managed the plethora of paperwork with great timeliness and accuracy."

Special Education Coordinator Susan Merrell agreed that Valley was nothing but organized and reliable and thanked her for her time spent as part of the special education team.

After 11 years of "power walking in the halls" so as not to waste a moment of time that could be spent with a student in need of reading support, Patricia Vanderhoef will retire from Ossipee Central School. Vanderhoef filled a half-time reading recovery position at the school but, according to Principal Hertzfeld, she was known to stay late to work with a student.

Governor Wentworth was lucky to have Paula Dickinson back as an employee for the past four years, said Robertson of the "retired" teacher who joined the staff in 2007. Now truly ready to retire Dickinson will leave her position as a part-time DPT teacher at New Durham School. Of her time spent at New Durham Principal Reed said Dickinson, "has done an outstanding job and learned a whole new set of skills quickly," before adding that she is an "amazing woman" who is valued for all she does.

Likewise, every one of the eight retiring staff of the Governor Wentworth Regional School District is valued and will be remembered for their dedication and hard work. Each in his or her own respective role played an important part in the education of the district's students and is appreciated for the contribution.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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