Johnsburg Central School
Once the Johnsburg Central School year comes to a halt, six faculty and staff members will close out their full-time careers at JCS.
This year’s retirees and their length of service at JCS are: Teacher Assistant Kathy Allen (11 years); fifth-grade teacher Jeff Baroudi (33 years); high-school French teacher Mary Blackhurst (25 years); groundskeeper Dave Hyde (36 years); Coach Timothy Leach (27 years); and second-grade teacher Barbara Sherwood (31 years).
Three of these employees agreed to be interviewed for a journalism project in Katy Odell’s English 10 class at JCS and are profiled here (see stories on page 4).
“If you take everyone that is retiring and you add their years of experience together, you will come up with 163 years,” said Superintendent Mike Markwica, reflecting on the substantial wealth of knowledge and experience evident in the work of the JCS staff.
While Dave Hyde is retiring from a full-time position, he will continue to work as a part-time bus driver this fall, so his familiar face will remain visible at JCS.
“He makes every connection with a student special,” observed Markwica.
Hyde is not only familiar to students for his work groundskeeping and driving buses. In recent years, he’s been known to don a tuxedo and join a student on stage in a vocal duet for the JCS Talent Show.
Some of the retiring teachers were to be honored by colleagues at a retirement dinner June 8 at Garnet Hill Lodge, while others, such as Jeff Baroudi, will be recognized at a subsequent event. Baroudi, the longtime elementary teacher, has devoted his entire career to serving the Johnsburg community.
“His best asset is his connection with the students,” said Markwica about Baroudi’s impact on school life.
The superintendent similarly remarked on Leach’s contributions to JCS.
“Through his coaching, he has helped students with their academics, commitment, patience and looking deeper into themselves,” Markwica said.
Regarding the contributions of teachers Blackhurst, Sherwood and Allen, JCS Principal Dee Kearney indicated that not only have the students learned from the teachers, each retiree’s personality and knowledge has shone through to the staff as well.
“Each teacher has been proactive at catching students who begin to struggle,” Kearney said. “They have all helped our students become more independent learners.”
They’ve demonstrated teamwork, talent, and effort and adapted teaching styles to help each student individually, she said.
“The wisdom and experience of a long-term teacher is invaluable,” Kearney said. “They possess a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience.”
The contributions to the school and students from these retirees have been tremendous, she noted.
“Their love for children speaks volumes in the passion that they have in their teaching,” Kearney said. “They have a good sense of humor, which always helps to connect with their students.”
Sometimes, retirees return to JCS to substitute.
“I would love to see our teachers back at school,” Kearney said. “Having a retired teacher substitute is an honor. They are flexible and the knowledge they back with them helps our teachers to feel relieved, knowing that their lesson plans will be filled with experience.”
The school started advertising in late May to fill several vacancies left by the departing teachers; however, the teacher assistant position will not be replaced for next year.
Asked how losing this position this will impact the students, Kearney said, “We are going to have to think outside the box to reach every student that needs services,” regarding the academic intervention services teacher assistants work with teachers to provide.
The interviewing process for new hires will start in mid-June. The first round of interviews likely will involve three to five candidates and will be conducted by Markwica, Kearney, and faculty members. The superintendent, principal and others will participate in the second interview. The people to fill the open spots are expected to be chosen by August. Asked if any of the current JCS employees would be considered as candidates for the openings, Markwica said that current staffers often apply for a change in position, and “… it would be great to have someone who already has a connection with the students.”
Come September, staff and students will be ready to welcome new faces to Johnsburg.