Spotswood Board Of Education Honors Retiring Teachers

Jean Puff receives a hug from Schoenly School Principal Nancy Torchiano at the June 6 Spotswood Board of Education meeting. Puff is retiring after 39 years in the district. Credits: Dawn Miller
Spotswood High School English teacher, Alan Cummings shakes hands with Spotswood Board of Education members as he is honored for 30 years in the district. Credits: Dawn Miller
Sharon Welsh listens as she is honored for her 39 years in the Spotswood School District. Credits: Dawn Miller

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Teaching is often a thankless job and contrary to popular belief, most teachers don't gravitate to the profession simply because they want summers off. Many teachers enter the career out of a love for children as well as a desire to make a difference. Some become educators because they were inspired by a teacher when they were a student.

At the June 6 meeting of the Spotswood Board of Education, seven teachers were honored for their longtime service to the Spotswood School District with words of appreciation from their principal, colleagues and students as well as a plaque.

The retirees in the district include Carol Cohen, Alan Cummings, Barbara Plachinski, Marianne Boszko, Marsha Ober, Jean Puff, Sharon Welsh, Tony Toto and Diane Kuslansky. Puff, Welsh and Cummings were the only teachers present at the meeting to receive their awards.

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Five of the retiring teachers spent their career at Spotswood High School. Cummings taught English for 30 years while Plachinski instructed countless art students. Ober spent 28 years teaching students the nuances of the Spanish language. Boszko was a teacher and guidance counselor for 28 years. Cohen was the backbone of the high school's Business and Vocational Department for 37 years.

"All of our retirees have made a major impact on the lives of hundreds if not thousands of students," Spotswood High School Principal Thomas Calder said in his opening remarks before honoring each retiring teacher with words of praise for their accomplishments.

Puff spent 39 years as a Physical Education teacher at both the Schoenly and Appleby Schools. The longtime teacher was moved to tears as she listened to Schoenly School Principal Nancy Torchiano's creative, Dr. Seuss-inspired poem about her time in the district. Torchiano also had high words of praise for Kuslansky who spend 22 years with the high school's Tots and Teens program. Seven current Spotswood School District teachers came through the program, which has high school juniors and seniors working in an early childhood classroom with preschoolers.

Welsh began teaching at the Appleby School in 1978. Appleby Principal Karen Boyle gave a lively tribute to Welsh that started off with all the things that were trendy back in the late 70s.

Acting Memorial School Principal, Assistant Superintendent and new Spotswood School District Superintendent Graham Peabody spoke highly of Toto, who retired in January from his position as a Physical Education teacher and coach at both Spotswood High School and the Memorial Middle School. Toto spent 32 years in the district.

Every day for 180 days, parents trust their children's education and well-being to teachers.

An often cited teacher quote has been used in print since 1993. It's authorship is unknown, but its words and sentiment strike a chord for educators everywhere.

"A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart."

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