School Committee honors NRMS and NRHS retirees

Jul 5, 2018 by

Published in the July 5, 2018 edition

By JILLIAN STRING

NORTH READING — School Committee members celebrated the achievements of secondary level retiring staff members Karen Adams, Joanne Coughlin, Eric Forman, Helena Meyer and Jane Whitney at the June 25 meeting.

Retirees Linda Pescione and Paula Bugli were not able to attend the meeting.

“The folks we have here tonight to be honored for their service to North Reading total 100.5 years of service,” Superintendent Jon Bernard said.

Meyer is completing 10 years of service at North Reading Middle School (NRMS).

According to Bernard, she worked as a reading specialist and English Language Arts (ELA) teacher, and prior to her work at NRMS, Meyer worked for both Wakefield and Lynnfield Public Schools.

“(Meyer) has done a very, very nice job at our Middle School,” Bernard said, adding that she is “a very nice person, a very talented teacher, and we’re going to miss you Helena.”

NRMS AND NRHS retirees were recognized by the School Committee at their meeting on June 25. Front row, from left: Joanne Coughlin, Jane Whitney, Karen Adams, Eric Forman and Helena Meyer; back row, from left: School Committee members Rich McGowan, Mel Webster, Scott Buckley and Dyana Boutwell. (Jillian String Photo)

North Reading High School (NRHS) alumna and special education teacher Whitney is retiring after 18 years. She grew up in North Reading, graduating with the Class of 1978. During her tenure she also coached the girls’ varsity and junior varsity tennis teams for several years.

“Jane, you’re going to be missed having been a very talented person working in our alternative education center, the learning center, very supportive of children. I want to thank you. It’s been a pleasure working with you,” Bernard said.

Adams, who officially retired earlier in the school year, completed 18.5 years as the nurse at NRHS.

Bernard noted that he got to know Adams very well when he was principal of NRHS. He thanked Adams for her years of service and for attending the meeting.

Forman is celebrating 19 years with both the NRHS and NRMS music departments, having served as music director for concert band, jazz band and marching band as well as countless musical theater productions with the Masquers’ Club at the high school level, and as band director for the sixth grade cadet band and the seventh and eighth grade junior band. Forman was an educator for 35 years and had worked in Hull, Tyngsboro and Lynnfield prior to coming to North Reading in 1999.

“Eric has had a perennial smile now for about six months,” Bernard teased. “So congratulations to you, Eric. Thank you very, very much.”

Coughlin is completing 35 years with the North Reading Public Schools. Coughlin was hired as an elementary music teacher in 1983, and worked at all three elementary schools throughout her tenure. In 2001, she moved up to NRMS to teach music. Coughlin switched over to the technical side of things in 2004 becoming a technology integration specialist, and most recently a digital learning specialist for the district.

“(Coughlin) has really been one of those cogs in the wheel of moving digital learning in this district pretty speedily, and with great advancement in the last few years, so Joanne, it’s been a pleasure working with you,” Bernard said.

According to Bernard, it is tradition for retiring staff to choose a book to be donated in their honor to the school media center.

“Findings” by Leonard Bernstein will be donated in honor of Forman, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou in honor of Coughlin, “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett in honor of Adams, “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo in honor of Whitney, and “Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt in honor of Meyer.

School Committee member Mel Webster congratulated retiring staff in attendance and thanked former School Committee member Julie Koepke for the idea to publicly honor the retirees. 

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