Submitted by Pamela Hensel.
Haddam Killingworth High School:
Regional School District 17 is losing a stellar employee who served the district for 27 years. Linda Hansen has worked in the Food Service Department in many schools from Elementary to the High School.
Linda has great leadership skills and is always a team player. As a head cook, she took on many responsibilities, always looking to do special things for the kids while running the department with efficiency and a conscientious attitude. She has fun with what she does and she strives to create a very welcoming environment. Linda has developed positive relationships with the students, coworkers and other school staff and her kind words and affection was always welcome.
Linda loved participating in spirit days, dressing up on holidays, festive meal days and especially enjoyed being a part of the Holiday show at Burr Elementary School.
She was an active member of the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut and was the treasurer for the Mohegan Chapter for the last 5 years. You could always count on Linda as she rarely missed a day. We thank her for her dedication and hard work over the past 27 years. She will be greatly missed by all.
Haddam Killingworth Middle School:
Kathy Briotti will be leaving RSD 17 this year after 24 years of service to the children of Haddam and Killingworth. Kathy began her time with us at Killingworth Elementary School, where she was an invaluable member of the faculty, being recognized in 2007 as KES’s teacher of the year.
Soon after the middle school opened, she began teaching in the new building, where her leadership really shone through as a team leader for many years. Whether in a formal capacity or as just a coworker, she helped to keep the school moving forward through strong organization and a sense of humor. She is an exemplary teacher of both science and mathematics and helped the school transition to the Next Generation of Science Standards.
Kathy embraces new technology and new challenges. One of her co-workers described how they had fun after school running through the science labs. She says, “We could often be found racing cars across the floor, dropping stuff from the second floor on main street or crashing things into walls after school laughing like school kids and trying it again to set up the best experiences for kids.”
Kathy, your humor, your love of children, and your commitment to doing your best will be missed at HK. Thank you for contributing to the lives of our children and our staff. We wish you well in the next step in your life.
RSD17 has been lucky to have Kate O’Mara within its ranks for the last 23 years. Beginning in 1998 as a social studies teacher at the high school, Kate moved to the middle school in 2006 to follow her desire to work in a team structure. Shortly thereafter, in 2008, Kate was recognized as the middle school teacher of the year.
At the middle school, her colleagues learned quickly that they could count on her to always see the silver lining in the challenges of the middle school day. She is always present as a team player, asking, “How are you doing? How can I help?”
With students, one colleague shares, “Kate teaches students to have the courage to begin. I’ve heard her say to her students, “I believe in you; you were incredible today – you can do this challenging work.” Kate has a gift for believing in her students and always works to find ways to reach them.
Kate, herself, is a lifelong learner, always taking advantage of professional development opportunities and spending time exploring new resources and technology to expand her own knowledge. And then, in her collaborative way, she shares what she has learned – always excited about the possibilities her new found learning could bring. Because of this, she naturally became a leader in the social studies department, revising curriculum to engage students in inquiry, and modeling how to capitalize on student curiosity. Kate has guided that curiosity into National History Day projects, bringing students to the regional competitions and always sending a few on to the state level competition. Of course, the outcome of the competition doesn’t matter to Kate. What does matter, is that she always convinces her students to believe they can do it.
Finally, Kate always worked to make connections within our community. She developed wonderful partnerships with our local veterans and supported the Patriot’s Pen essay contest and local programs to honor our veterans.
Kate has been an inspiration to her pod-mates and teammates and will be greatly missed. We look forward to seeing what she will knit in retirement and hearing about her biking adventures with her husband Charlie.
Haddam Killingworth Intermediate/Middle School:
It is with mixed feelings that we congratulate Juliann Bacewicz on her retirement. While she has been with RSD 17 since 2001, she has been teaching children the love of reading since she began her career as a kindergarten teacher in 1988. Since joining the Killingworth Elementary staff as a reading interventionist and kindergarten teacher, she has influenced the reading life of a generation of HK students. Many have her to thank every time they pick up a book, fill out a resume, or explore a new recipe.
Not content to merely teach children how to read, but wanting to inspire our kids with books, Juliann went back to school to become a library media specialist, the position where she has worked for the last 4 years. In our school library first at BES and now at HKIMS, she has been teaching children to cherish books and also to develop the skills of research and digital literacy.
Over her career, there have been many changes to how we consume text. Who would have imagined in 1988 that we would need to have a subscription to online encyclopedias, or pull up the next book on our computers? Through all that time, Juliann continued to reinvent herself and build her knowledge so that the students of HK would not only be able to meet the demands of the information age, but thrive in it.
Thank you for creating a generation of readers here in HK. We wish you well as you take your next step into the future.
Killingworth Elementary School:
It is a pleasure to recognize Jill MacDiarmid as we celebrate her retirement from Regional School District 17.
Jill has been a dedicated professional in the RSD 17 community for over 20 years and has touched the lives of thousands of students. Throughout her career, Jill has worked at the Haddam Killingworth High School, Burr District Elementary School, Haddam Elementary School, and Killingworth Elementary School where she spent the bulk of her career.
Jill has inspired so many young learners to lead healthy and active lifestyles and to understand the value of physical activity and making healthy choices. She has played a significant role in fostering a love for athletics in children and the important role that sports can play in their lives. She has taught children how to be a good teammate, how to compete fairly and with integrity, and most importantly, how to have fun.
Beyond the gym, Ms. Mac has left her mark on everyone that she has come in contact with. She took pride in knowing the students, not only their names, but what they enjoyed or what teams they were currently playing on or rooting for, even if they weren’t rooting for the Mets. Jill would often bring her dog to school to read with students on days when certain students just needed a little extra. It was not uncommon to see Ms. Mac at a local little league game or park and rec game cheering on her students.
Jill valued the role of mentorship and understood how important it was to support new teachers. Jill served as a lead teacher for many years, mentored many aspiring PE teachers and was very involved in the BEST program which was a program designed to support new teachers as they began their careers in education.
Although we are very happy for Jill and wish her the best in her retirement, she will definitely be missed.