Belmont Schools Honor Eight Retirees Who Provided 200 Years of Educational Grit

Photo: Retiring: (from left) Mary Dominguez, Anne Mullany, Rosemary Peterson, Roseanne Mili and Georgia Patterson.

They had a collective experience of nearly two centuries working in the Belmont schools; a testament to their commitment to education.

At a ceremony held on Tuesday, June 9, Belmont School Committee honored eight educators and staff members as they prepared to retire from the district at the end of the 2015 school year. 

Susan Blanchard, Mary Dominguez, Roseanne Mili, Anne Mullany, Georgia Patterson, Ellen Payne, Rosemary Peterson and Colleen Ryder were feted by the reading of a resolution from the School Committee, providing a brief glimpse of their skills and personalities that were hallmarks of their careers.  

Below are samples of the accomplishments of these educators and staff members:

“She finds ways to engage every learner – by giving extra time and attention to those who struggle, by stretching those who are ready for enrichment, and by never forgetting the needs in the middle either.” – Susan Blanchard.

“Teachers know that they can count on Mary to figuratively and literally bring science to life in their classrooms. She delivered crayfish to third grade classrooms, wrangles those that escape and fearlessly trains reluctant teachers and students to handle them.” – Mary Dominguez. 

“Aside from the wealth of knowledge and skills Mrs. Mili has provided the children of Belmont over the years, she has given them a joyful music-making experience that has fostered a love of music that they will carry with them throughout their lives.” – Roseanne Mili. 

“She has developed teaching skills that present as genuine, professional magic with which she invites students to learn.” – Anne Mullany. 

“Her pivotal role in the Student Services department allowed her to truly leave a mark on the facilitation of services for our students, and the success they ultimately achieved due to those added supports and assistance.” – Georgia Patterson.

“She is endlessly patient with her students – most of whom struggle in school – and her true grit is in convincing students that they are capable and that she will believe and support them until they believe in themselves and can support themselves.” – Ellen Payne.

“She worked consistently over the years to define and develop a strong school health program for the district, and provide oversight and guidance to nursing staff, administration and community partners.” – Rosemary Peterson. 

“She possessed endless empathy for students and families who struggled and always fought on their behalf. Her kindness and supportive nature and the impact she has had on our entire community will be sorely missed.” – Colleen Ryder.

Honoring Six Who Served In Belmont’s Schools

They taught, administered, kept the snow off outside stairs and brought the always interesting Belmont School Committee meetings to the public.

For six members of the greater Belmont Schools family, their long service for or to the district were honored by the Belmont School Committee on Tuesday, June 10 at the annual ceremony saluting their careers at their retirement with salutations and cake.

(from left) Paul Carey, Meg Hamilton, Gwen Irish and Robert McCorkle at the Belmont School Committee's annual reception for educators, staff and the public retiring from working for the public schools.

(from left) Paul Carey, Meg Hamilton, Gwen Irish and Robert McCorkle at the Belmont School Committee’s annual reception for educators, staff and the public retiring from working for the public schools.

The first person honored was a non-educator who brought the schools and the committee to the greater community. Paul Carey, who was the government and community producer at the Belmont Media Center, was faithfully behind the camera at nearly every School Committee meeting. Carey, who had a long career in media and advertising before becoming a producer, will be best known for his booming voice requesting both committee members and the public “to speak clearly into the microphone.”

Steven Chung Hau Wongassistant custodian at the Burbank Elementary for 12 years, will best be remembered for clearing snow from the back stairs leading to Gale Road. He was noticeably pleased when the stair were condemned a few years ago. 

A teacher in Belmont since 1981, Robert McCorkle, whose last position in the district was teaching third graders at the Winn Brook, brought poetry into the classroom and made it a regular ritual while being the school’s grammarian, a math whiz and history buff. He will end this years as in the past, leading a play in which “children behave as children; singing, giggling and assuming the identity of folk tale characters and occasionally forgetting a line … as Bob sings along.”

Gwen Irish has held just one position in her 42 years serving the Belmont School District: second-grade teacher at Wellington Elementary. There is no one who has as much tacit history about the schools or the town as Irish. Her knowledge in teaching and how to teach has been an ongoing asset to the children she taught and to the countless colleagues she has helped over the years. “She has always been willing to go the extra mile … and after 42 years that still rings true.”

Carol Cormier had two swings of the bat with the district, first as an office manager, then, after raising her family, coming back in 1994 first as a financial clerk where she processed the weekly accounts payable warrant entering $15 million of invoices over the year. She also lead the way in installing and using new financial software systems. 

Preschool Coordinator Marguerite “Meg” Hamilton began her service in the district in 1989 working part-time before becoming a preschool teacher for a decade. She then became a inclusion specialist, helping to create and implement the elementary autism inclusion program. In 2006, Hamilton became the early childhood coordinator working tirelessly to instruct educators and the public on the issues facing students.

“Most of all, Peg has represented what is truly best about special education; efforts to intervene early, efforts to include all children into the educational process regardless of challenges … and consummate dedication and professionalism working not only with some of our most vulnerable students but also their families.”