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Books Help Sharon School Retirees Start Next Chapter

School Superintendent Timothy Farmer presented the gifts during a recent school committee meeting.

After school on Monday, several longtime Sharon public school employees will start the next chapter in their lives with page turners from Superintendent Timothy Farmer.

Each staff member received a book from Farmer as a retirement present.

Monday is Sharon's last day of school.

"Some of the books have to do with things that you might choose to do as you wander the narrow roads of New England," Farmer said during a special presentation to the retirees during a recent school committee meeting.

"Some of the books are a little more personal because I might know an interest that you have."

This year's retirees are:

  • Sharon High School Athletic Director Robert Sondheim
  • METCO instructional assistant Ellen Frank
  • Heights Elementary School special education teacher Eileen Ableson
  • Heights Kindergarten teacher Rhonda Bennett
  • Sharon Middle School French teacher Phil O'Connell
  • SHS athletic department administrative assistant Trudy Leonard
  • SHS permanent substitute Esther Schneiderman
  • Heights fourth-grade teacher Joan Friedman
  • SHS special education teacher Susan Young

Farmer said he understood that the school board tradition was to read a bit about each retiree.

"And I thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice if they could actually be in the room and hear some of the accolades and-or hear the praise that is being said about them?'" Farmer said.

Young, for example, is finishing 13 years here, he said. During her tenure, the Sharon Special Education Parent Advisory Council awarded her its appreciation pin, which goes to "individuals that have made a significant difference in the lives of their students," Farmer said.

"In Susan's classes, students were encouraged to challenge themselves. The expectation that each could succeed was evident," he said.

Ableson, meanwhile, has "been resourceful in developing instructional programs that meet students' individual needs," Farmer said.

"I love this job," Ableson said, "and I'm delighted that I was able to provide some service to the children. I've loved teaching. I don't know what I'm going to be without teaching."

Farmer said O'Connell "brings his knowledge and expertise in a language as well as his personal experiences to the classroom, having spent time living and teaching in France."

"It's been exciting and challenging, and it's been a real pleasure to work with the young people of Sharon," O'Connell said.

Farmer said Leonard has spent 44 years in the Sharon public schools doing a variety of tasks, from cafeteria worker to SHS athletic department administrative assistant.

"She has adjusted seamlessly to whatever task has been required of her," Farmer said.

"Trudy has been able to navigate the sometimes sensitive territory among the public, staff and students with complete professionalism."

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