USC school board honors retirees

Published Jun 11, 2013 at 9:13 am (Updated Jun 11, 2013 at 9:13 am)

Additional chairs had to be brought into the Upper St. Clair School Board room on June 10 to honor employees who will retire after this school year.

The board honored retirees at its committee of the whole meeting, including the principal of Boyce Middle School and the director of musicals at the high school, who has been with the district for more than three decades.

The principal of the middle school since 2003, Karen Brown was honored for spending her entire career in the district, according to Superintendent Patrick O’Toole. Brown started with the district in 1973.

“You’ve been like a second family to me,” she said of the district.

Brown said that because she loved what she did, “I never felt I worked in this district. To change all that will be an adjustment.”

Assistant Principal Amy G. Pfender, serving jointly at Boyce and Fort Couch Middle Schools, has been named the new principal at Boyce effective July 1.

Retiree Paul Fox, curriculum leader for the performing arts and music teacher, was honored for serving in many capacities over the years, in addition to being the current director of musical theater at the high school.

O’Toole said Fox has held various other jobs in the district, including choral director, fall play producer and assistant band director, as well as helping the district with communications through its eBlast newsletters.

Fox praised the school board for keeping the focus on serving each individual student, and reading the mission statement at every meeting.

“You have shown me in 33 years that you support the arts,” he said to the school board.

Fox started with the district in 1980.

“Retiring was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made,” said Barbara Peresie, Eisenhower Librarian and the department chair of librarians for the district.

“I couldn’t sleep for weeks,” she said of deciding whether to retire.

She started with the district in 1971.

Peresie said that a young Eisenhower student told her Monday, “Mrs. Peresie, I hope you change your mind about that retirement thing.”

Maryann Kress, who is retiring as an Eisenhower Elementary Technical Instructional Aide, said technology has come a long way since the big, huge and awkward Apple 2e computers that were at Boyce Middle School when she began with the district in 1988.

Other retirees include:

• Curriculum Leader in Elementary Science and a teacher at Baker Elementary Barbara Williams, who began with the district in 1991.

• Curriculum Leader for Fine Arts and Eisenhower Elementary art teacher Michele Scureman, who was hired in 1973.

• Eisenhower Elementary teacher Neelaveni Sankar, who has been with the district since 1995.

• Gail O’Hara, a nurse for Boyce Middle School and Baker Elementary School, who began with the district in 1997.

• Boyce Middle School head secretary Hedy Pitcairn, who has been with the district since 1986.

• Streams Elementary special education teacher Anne Johnston, who was hired in 1981.

• Fort Couch Middle School teacher aide Eileen Dobbins, who has been with the district since 1971.

• Boyce Middle School teacher aide Sondra Fetter, who has been with the district since 1994.

• High school teacher aide Elizabeth Williard, who has been with the district since 2002.

• Dara Georges, an accountant in the central office, who has been with the district since 2005.

•Susan Bosco, a secretary in the central office, who was hired in 2005.

School Board Vice President Louis Mafrice said he calculated the retirees had given a combined 831 years of service to the district.

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