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Sayreville teacher’s retirement will leave ‘hole in heart’ of colleagues

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SAYREVILLE – A longtime teacher is retiring from the Sayreville School District at the end of the year.

On Oct. 17, the Board of Education voted to honor the retirement of Beverly Fitzsimmons, an academic support instruction teacher at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School. Fitzimmons’ retirement will be effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

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According to Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe, Fitzsimmons has been a teacher in the district for 32 years. A lifelong resident of Sayreville, she began her career as a first grade teacher at Eisenhower in 1985. She later taught first, second and third grade at Eisenhower for 11 years before she was transferred to the Emma Arleth Elementary School in 1996.

After five years, Fitzsimmons was transferred back to Eisenhower in 2001 as a basic skills teacher, a position that was renamed academic support instruction teacher, which she has held for the last 16 years. Labbe stated that she received reading specialist credentials from Kean University while she was at Arleth.

This year, Fitzsimmons was recognized as Eisenhower’s 2016-17 Service Professional of the Year in June.

“If you think about Eisenhower, you think about one person: Bev Fitzsimmons,” then-Principal Edward Aguiles said at the time while recognizing Fitzsimmons as the Service Professional of the Year. “She is a talented reading specialist. She knows everybody by name, she knows what’s going on in everybody’s classroom just as well as I do, she knows who needs help and she’s a huge advocate for our novice teachers. She’ll come in and she’ll say, ‘Give that one a little bit more time, that one needs a little bit of a pep talk or kick that one in the behind.’

“She’s fabulous to have as a right-hand person,” he said. “She is definitely the person that I go to when I have a thought about making a change at Eisenhower; I’ll run it past her. As the historian of Eisenhower school, I can ask for no better person. She is fabulous and remembers kids, teachers and connections better than anybody I know.”

Aguiles’ praise of Fitzsimmons was shared by Labbe at the October meeting.

“Bev will most certainly be sorely missed and we wish her all the very best in a very happy retirement,” Labbe said. “There’s definitely going to be a hole in my heart, as well as in the district’s, when Bev does leave. She’s a remarkable teacher. … She’s a lifelong learner. She has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and skill development, and you can see it in the way she teaches her children.

“She not only is an incredibly impressive teacher, she is a very inspiring person,” the superintendent said. “I’m going to miss her greatly. I know everyone at Eisenhower is happy for her, but grieving in the same respect. Bev, we can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done for this district and more importantly, for every child’s life that you touched and every child in which you improved their outcomes. It’s immeasurable and we can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done.”

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