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Howell school board honors retiring teachers

HOWELL – The Howell K-8 School District Board of Education has honored staff members who will retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

At its May 23 meeting, the board honored the following educators as they near their retirement: Diana Rochon, 17 years of service to the district; Jacquelyn Tennant, 27 years of service; Randi Molinelli, 18 years of service; Mary Ellen Motto, 14 years of service; and Corinne McCandless, 24 years of service.

Board members also honored and celebrated the life and service of Barbara Fernandez, a teacher at the Taunton School who died on Feb. 16 at the age of 62.

“Tragically, we lost one of our staff members earlier in this school year,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola said. “I knew Barbara as an outstanding teacher and a member of our Taunton family. I knew Barbara to be a dedicated, committed teacher for almost 30 years in our district.”

Isola said that when he attended Fernandez’s wake, he learned “in about 30 seconds who Barbara was.” He described meeting the parents of some of Fernandez’s former pupils. He said he learned from the parents that their children are now in their early 20’s.

“Two mothers who experienced the love and passion Barbara showed in her teaching and her commitment to children came back all these years later to pay respects to someone who impacted their child, their children and their lives,” Isola said.

The superintendent said the experience put into perspective the impact a teacher has on a child’s life.

“I think Barbara was certainly an example of that,” Isola said.

The retirees and the Fernandez family will be honored with commemorative bricks that will be placed in a memory garden at each of the district’s schools.

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