Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Saying “goodbye” to long-time staff.

Last week I attended the Retirement Celebration for 25 Ridgewood Public Schools staff who are retiring at the end of this school year. It was bittersweet. There are always retirements, but I think the number this year was slightly larger than in recent years, thanks to all the uncertainty from Trenton surrounding pensions, and the budget cuts and changes coming to our District.

Of course, by its very nature, an event like this is going to focus on long-time employees, who have contributed greatly for many many years, and so there is a feeling of loss. And awe. For example, how can I not be awed by Fred Barbi, who began his career teaching at Travell in 1969? He taught for 41 years total at Travell and then taught social studies (including to my son) at BF…think of the hundreds of children he influenced! We are losing several area supervisors – Garland Allen (District Director of Wellness), Jane Blakely (RHS Supervisor of Social Studies & English), Joan Lipkowitz (District Supervisor of World Languages), Fred Nartowitz (RHS Supervisor of Science) and Ed Schmiedecke (District Supervisor of Fine & Applied Arts) will surely be missed! Sarah “Sally” Blair attended Willard, Ridge, GW and RHS as a student, and then spent her career in special education here! Joyce Riccio-Sauer spent 24 years in Ridgewood schools, as an RHS art teacher, then a technology coordinator and Intel Master Teacher, and then went back to teaching art at Willard. These are just a few examples of the excellent staff we will miss, and yet we wish the best to them.

I’m told that long ago (or a few years ago, not that long), the District would hold an actual retirement “dinner,” which was lovely and much more elaborate than finger food and punch in the Ed Center. State laws now prevent us from spending money on that, but I hope those who were honored last week know – as many of our administrators eloquently explained – how important they were to the success of our District, and how much we will miss their presence, their talents and their contribution.

Wishing the best to our retirees. Last day of school tomorrow...

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