Recently, it’s been my honor to attend retirement ceremonies for some really special educators here in District 8. Educators like myself know that this is a bittersweet time of year — our kids are moving on to new classes, new schools, new chapters of life, and we send them off with our best wishes as we prepare for the next set of students. But when we lose cherished colleagues, those goodbyes are harder.
Mary Ann Nietubicz and Carol Dilda served at Joppa View Elementary School for thirty years. Perry Hall High School said goodbye to Judy Harrison after 31 years with the district, Bob Catonzaro after 40 years and Barbara Over after 41 years. Down at Golden Ring Middle School, Ekaterini Akalestos is retiring after 16 years, as is Linda Salihi after 21 years. Gunpowder Elementary School is losing Allison Purcell after 28 years with BCPS. I’m sure there are more.
I’ve had the chance to present these individuals with citations from the House of Delegates thanking them for their years of service in our community. When I think of how many students these folks have impacted over the years, how many lessons they have taught, how many families they have helped, how many young people they have inspired — it makes me beyond proud. It is a reminder to keep working hard at what I do for the sake of future generations. We can all learn from the perseverance and dedication of these incredible educators.
To every educator who made it through this school year, you have my heartfelt thanks. To those who are retiring, you have the best wishes of your community behind you in whatever you do next, and your legacy here in our schools will not be forgotten. Thank you.