Clinton honors retired teachers who contributed 184 years to schools

CLINTON — It was a goodbye night as the Clinton School District honored those who retired this school year. In total, the nine retirees have contributed 184 years to Clinton Public Schools.

Each received a plaque created by students in the Technical Education Department, as well as a certificate from the House of Representatives, presented by Representative Meghan Kilcoyne.

Retired Mary Neeley-Winkler (left) with Rep. Meghan Kilcoyne and Superintendent Steven Meyer.

Mary Neeley-Winkler retired after 27 years as Executive Assistant to the Superintendent.

“Mary successfully led Clinton Public Schools for 27 years,” Superintendent Steven Meyers said. “I’m hardly exaggerating. She’s the nicest, most honest person in the world and she cares about Clinton and the people in the neighborhood.”

Mary Augur hugs Clinton Elementary Principal Meghan Silvio as Superintendent Steven Meyer and Rep. Meghan Kilcoyne look on.

Mary Auger retired after 32 years in both middle and elementary schools in Clinton.

Clinton Elementary School principal Meghan Silvio said Auger was “the pulse of the office. She kept a lot of us in check.”

Clinton High School principal Scott Czermak congratulated two retirees.

Ellen Welsh (center) shows her plaque marking her retirement.  She is joined by Clinton High School principal Scott Czermak and Rep. Meghan Kilcoyne.

Ellen Welsh has been teaching business and undergraduate, as well as the virtual high school and school internship program for eight years. And Paul Della Valle Sr. has been teaching English for 12 years, leading some student activities, and was the Class of 2018 counselor.

Paul Della Valle Sr. (center) retired from Clinton High School after 12 years of teaching English.  He is joined by Principal Scott Czermak and Representative Meghan Kilcoyne.

And CTO Christopher Tahan was able to introduce his predecessor, Russ Lowe, who served the district for six years.

“I started in December 2020,” Tahan said. “And for every day of the holidays, he came to teach me. I realized he was not just good at computers, but at public school computers. In the 18 months, I saw that ‘He cared about the school, the students, the staff and adding the use of technology in education.’

Debra Goodsell was honored by the Clinton School Committee.  President Joel Bates and Superintendent Steven Meyer present the plaque to him.

Several other retirees were unable to attend the meeting on Monday May 23:

• Leanne Ball has worked at Clinton Elementary School for 28 years as a teaching assistant. “She loved the students and went above and beyond to serve them,” Silvio said. “She welcomed them every day and always found ways to make her students feel safe and successful.”

• Mary Laverdure retired after 26 years as a teaching assistant at Clinton Middle School. “She was very well liked,” Clinton Middle School principal Courtney Harter said.

• Julia Hagermoser spent 22 years as a teacher at Clinton Middle School. “It was her second career and she enjoyed working with the students,” Harter said.

• John “Jack” McGrail retired after 23 years at Clinton Middle School as a physical education/health teacher. “He taught an array of games and ways to play,” Harter said.

Before cutting the cake, the school committee also thanked Debra Goodsell, who was serving in her last meeting as a member of the school committee after choosing not to run for re-election.

“Your commitment and passion for the work that teachers do with students is inspiring,” said school committee chair Joel Bates.

Later in the meeting, Goodsell thanked the voters who elected her to the seat.

“It wasn’t what I expected,” Goodsell said. “When I started, we were doing a head lice policy. During COVID, I said to Joel, ‘Can we go back to head lice?'”

Goodsell praised his fellow school board members and told the superintendent that people in the district don’t know how hard he works. Under his contract, if he decides to leave, he must notify the committee in December. He currently lives here, while his family is in Florida, and he works remotely to be with them for long weekends.

“If you leave in six months, I will cry. If you stay, I will feel blessed,” Goodsell said.

In other cases

• The school committee has signed the contract with the union governing the teachers. School committee member Brendan Bailey, who served on the bargaining team, praised the working relationship.

• During her report, Meyer reported that several people have resigned from their positions, including Laura Taylor, who will step down as Community Engagement Coordinator at the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement program. Other departures include Richard Quirk, an English teacher at Clinton High School, and Leslie Hanratty, an adjustment counselor at the school.

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