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Somers School Bids Farewell to Five Retiring Staff Members

SOMERS, N.Y. – The five long-time members of Somers’ Primrose Elementary School staff who are retiring this year were honored at last week’s Board of Education meeting. Counted together, the five careers represent more than 100 years of service to the district, said Primrose Principal Katie Winter.

Winter described kindergarten teacher Maria French as a person “born to the job. We’ve often received requests from parents who had Mrs. French who absolutely, positively want the same for their own child.” Winter recalled walking into the kindergarten classroom last year just as French was putting an LP record on the phonograph. “That’s an awfully big CD,” one child observed.

First-grade teacher Joanne Gibbs was described by Assistant Principal Haidee Anaya as a consummate professional, who has been the perfect fit. “With Mrs. Gibbs leaving her first-grade team, there is truly a large void to be filled,” said Anaya. “She’s leaving at the top of her game.”

Suzanne Rossini has been a music teacher in the district for 32 years. “When you walk into her music class, you can’t help but have a smile on your face,” said Winter. “The children are often singing, dancing and having a great time. The confidence children gained from working with Mrs. Rossini is nothing short of amazing.”

Mary Jane McNamara has been a reading teacher at both Primrose School and Somers Intermediate School (SIS),  “The role of a reading teacher is a complex one,” said SIS Principal John Griffiths. “There is no skill in our lives that is more essential to our success as individual human beings than our ability to read.” McNamara had single-handedly fostered many innovations in the district’s reading program, said Griffiths, “and for that we’re always going to be grateful.”

Finally, Anaya said farewell to Rose Falcone-Raio , who has been the principal’s secretary for the past 10 years. “Her office is a welcome safe haven for all who enter including staff and children. Rose always sees the best in everyone. Her positive energy will be sorely missed,” said Anaya.

Later Falcone-Raio commented, “I am so very happy and sad at the same time. From the custodial and cafeteria staffs, monitors, secretaries, all our teachers and most of all our administration, the caring and love our students receive is most memorable. This is truly why Primrose is the best elementary school.”

Recalling some highlights of her teaching career, McNamara said, “I will always cherish the look of wonderment and excitement on a child’s face when he/she reads their first book.”

Rossini remembered her first day at Primrose. “I had an interview with Wayne Van Tassell, the principal, who gave me a tour of the building. As we walked down the hall towards the cafeteria, I will never forget how beautiful the view was! It was a mile of deep green grass with rolling hills in the background. Since that time there have been many additions to the school which have somewhat obstructed the vista, but at 22 I thought it was the most beautiful school I had ever been in.”

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