RUMFORD — Jan Bordeau had planned to teach in the former SAD 43 for a couple of years, then go to Boston.

But like so many plans, it didn’t quite work out that way, and she’s glad it didn’t.

When June 15 arrives, she will retire from nearly 40 years of teaching — first as a special education teacher, then, for the past 22 years, as an academic evaluator for special needs children. She served as part-time special education director for some of the last 22 years as well.

“I wanted to make a difference in their lives,” she said.

When she was a teen, she volunteered to work in a school with children with intellectual disabilities.

“I found that I liked it. The children were so happy and when they made one step in learning, they were so proud of themselves,” she said.

Her career began at the now-defunct Kimball School in Mexico in 1971 after graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington. Over the years, she has worked in many of the schools in the former district, and with children with various disabilities.

Now, as an academic evaluator, she travels between the 10 schools of Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10. She also tests youngsters at the Holy Savior Parish School. She tests youngsters in reading, writing and mathematics as part of an Individual Education Program for each child.

This year, she has tested about 175 children, and has at least 35 more to go. That number will likely grow since referrals from other teachers are currently being made.

When she began as a special education teacher, her class was in the basement of the Kimball School. In 1971, special needs children were segregated.

Now, the goal for most is to get them into the regular classroom, sometimes with help from other special education teachers or educational technicians.

Making the decision to retire this year was tough, she said.

“But once the decision was made, I felt good about starting a new chapter,” she said.

She and her husband, Arthur, also a retired special education teacher, will likely take a variety of day trips in the state, maybe visit her brother who lives in Florida, and occasionally visit Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

She also wants to spend more time scrapbooking, gardening, rug-braiding and perhaps, take up golfing again. Maybe she’ll do some part-time work in the schools, as well.

She knows she’ll miss not only the youngsters, but also the people she works with.

“Everyone works as a team,” she said.

The couple have a combined family of seven children, 14 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren on the way.

“It’s been a good career, a great career for a mother and family,” she said.

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