A few personal WCSD staff notes

24 Jun

I’d like to extend my congratulations and best wishes to my friend and Plank North colleague Heather Balsamo, the school’s outstanding assistant principal. A Plank North family member for 15 years, on July 1 Heather will begin a new position as UPK Administrator for the district.

Heather has been an integral part of the growth and development of the UPK program, and is the perfect person to fill this new position, as the district’s UPK program expands to all seven elementary schools.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Heather for the last five years. Her door was always open, she always made time to help out when you needed something, and she always respected her colleagues as unique individuals rather than just another staff member.

Heather will be sorely missed.


And now, a very personal note.

Yesterday marked my last day as a teaching assistant in the Webster Central School District. After 20 years — 15 at Webster Thomas and the last five split between Schlegel Rd. and Plank North — I am retiring.

I started my WCSD career almost by accident. My eldest daughter was in 8th grade at Thomas Middle School, and I came in one day as a volunteer to help out with a project. I was assigned to the library, where I helped students navigate some computer challenges.

The Thomas Middle School librarian, Trish Warren, liked how I worked with the kids and invited me to come back and volunteer at any time. Which I did. A lot. By the end of the school year, Trish and I had become good friends. She suggested I get myself established in the district and then apply for the library teaching assistant position at the new Thomas High School when it opened in 2001.

I was fortunate to land a position as a part-time Phys. Ed. teaching assistant at Plank North, where I worked for one year. The following year, as planned, I interviewed for and got the Thomas Library T.A. job, working again with Trish.

Trish and I worked together for 15 years. I enjoyed my time at Thomas very much and loved coming in to work every day. I grew very close to my collagues and fondly remember each and every one of them. Deep down, there is still — and forever will be — a part of me that will always be a Titan.

As I set my sights on retirement several years ago, however, I decided I wanted to finish my career in the elementary schools. So when a spot opened up for an elementary school library teaching assistant, I jumped at the chance. I was hired, splitting my week between Plank North and Schlegel elementary schools, a position I’ve held for the last five years.

Working in the elementary schools has been as much fun as I expected it to be. I’ve read picture books to preschoolers, dressed up as Gerald the Elephant (and a yam, a Butter Bear, a grandmother and a half dozen other characters) for read-alouds. I have played soccer and kickball, danced, painted, made crafts, played board games, and created some entertaining “races” for my colleagues. I’ve worked with three terrific librarians and have made so many good friends.

But mostly, I was able to play an important part in the lives of children at a time when they still love reading.

The time has passed much too quickly. I will miss the kids and my colleagues a lot. But rest assured, I will be returning to Plank North and Schlegel as a substitute, and probably a volunteer. Because I know I’m not going to be able to stay away from two of my favorite places in the world.

(And who knows when Gerald might need to make an appearance for a command performance of Elephant and Piggie.)

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

5 Responses to “A few personal WCSD staff notes”

  1. Kathy Taddeo June 24, 2021 at 7:14 am #

    I loved reading your teaching “memoir”…. Took me back to my own teaching experiences. We were both lucky to find our right place in the work and “mission” world. Not everyone has that experience. Hard to leave, isn’t it?

    In case I missed your reporting on this, thought I would mention the library’s new life-sized Candyland game… appointments booked all summer but you just gotta see it!

    Kathy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Theresa Livadas June 24, 2021 at 12:54 pm #

    Congratulations on your retirement!! And thank you! I’m sure 2020 was not as much fun. Theresa Livadas

    On Thu, Jun 24, 2021, 6:51 AM webster on the web wrote:

    > websterontheweb posted: ” I’d like to extend my congratulations and best > wishes to my friend and Plank North colleague Heather Balsamo, the school’s > outstanding assistant principal. A Plank North family member for 15 years, > on July 1 Heather will begin a new position as UPK A” >

  3. Janet Gibson June 24, 2021 at 3:38 pm #

    You will be missed! Enjoy retirement. You deserve it!!!!! Janet Gibson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: