Larry Thornton, job specialist for Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, speaks Tuesday evening to directors of Regional School Unit 10 about the program, which partners with public education and private businesses to ensure all Maine students graduate, attain post-secondary credentials and pursue meaningful careers. Standing with him at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford are junior Damian Tomassini, left, and JMG Regional Director Mitch Donar, right. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — Retiring school board Director Jerry Wiley of Buckfield was recognized Tuesday night for his 51 years of service to the former Maine School Administrative District 39 and to Regional School Unit 10.

MSAD 39, which included Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner, joined RSU 10 in 2008 under a statewide consolidation initiative. Other towns include Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury and Hanover.

At Wiley’s last board meeting Tuesday at Mountain Valley High School, Superintendent Deb Alden told him a plaque will list all the boards he has served on and a bench will be set up, most likely outside Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, as appreciation for his dedication to educational leadership.

“Thank you,” Wiley said of the honors.

Retiring staff members were also recognized but were not in attendance: Barbara Allen, Gloria Carter, Lisa Belanger and Brenda Kimball.

Allen worked for the district for 27 years, starting at Mountain Valley High School and then transferring to Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico, Alden said. Nutrition Director Jeanne LaPointe said in a letter honoring Allen that she and the district thanked her for her service and wished her “the best.”

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Carter retired in January after working in various positions for 29 years. Most recently she was a guidance secretary for 19 years at Mountain Valley Middle School. “Gloria was the keeper of the data and attendance guru who made sure the administration had everything they needed to run the school,” Alden read from a letter.

Belanger, a teacher at the Middle School, is retiring at the end of the school year after 36 years. She spent 23 years teaching fourth and fifth grade at Meroby Elementary School in Mexico before transferring to the Middle School to teach seventh and eighth grade literacy, science and math for 13 years, Alden said. Belanger “touched the lives of countless students and always made learning exciting and interesting,” Alden read from a letter.

Kimball is retiring after 39 years in education, the past 28 as administrative assistant to the principal at Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner. Prior to that, she spent 11 years there as a special education technician, Alden said.

Hartford-Sumner school Principal Ryan Wilkins wrote of Kimball, “One thing I admire about Brenda is how consistent she is. She always appears to be so even keeled all the time. She treats the children as though they were her own; she praises them yet also provides constructive criticism when it is called for.”

In other business, Larry Thornton, job specialist for RSU 10’s Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, Regional Director Mitch Donar  and high school junior Damian Tomassini told directors of a $5,000 grant from the program and the Full Plates Full Potential organization to end hunger in Maine.

Thornton said high school seniors created a survey for the student body asking for ideas to improve the cafeteria. The most requested item was greater access to water at lunch, so JMG students will use the $5,000 for a water filling station for the cafeteria.

Tomassini created an engraved sign for it in Jeff Bailey’s computer science classroom.

“It took about three to four hours to completely print out and it took close to a month to figure out the correct settings but in all I enjoyed the project,” Tomassini said. “It was actually one of my most favorite projects for JMG.”

JMG partners with public education and private businesses to offer results driven solutions to ensure all Maine students graduate, attain post-secondary credentials, and pursue meaningful careers.

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