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Scarsdale High School Says Goodbye to Retirees

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The Scarsdale School Board said goodbye to several longtime high school teachers and administrators Monday night, as they accepted the retirements of four district stalwarts.

Scarsdale High School co-principals Kelley Hamm and Fred Goldberg were saluted for their fine work in the district, as new principal Kenneth Bonamo will officially take over on August 7. The community also celebrated science teacher Patricia Jablonoski and foreign language instructor Mary Elizabeth Mace, who were hailed as pioneers in their own right.

“Our landscape continues to change with the departure of retirees and arrival of teachers new to Scarsdale,” said Joan Weber, assistant superintendent for personnel and administrative services. “With the retirements of both Kelley Hamm and Fred Goldberg, however, there will be a seismic shift at the high school.

Hamm, who has been with the district since 1980, was praised for his versatility and calming demeanor. During his tenure, he has held a multitude of positions and performed a variety of duties ranging from teacher, department chair and softball coach to utility man and “master scheduler.”

Vivienne Braun, the high school’s PTA president, cited anecdotes from several former students who said Hamm had been their favorite teacher.

“You have the distinction of having held the greatest variety of positions in the district. We even found a picture of a team of softball players and their coach, Mr. Hamm,” she said. ”While he may be quiet and unassuming, the constant twinkle in his eye is a clear sign that he’s always thinking.”

Goldberg, who was a teacher, department chair and principal in several school districts before making his way to Scarsdale, was praised for his empathy and ability to connect with all of his students.

“[Goldberg has] provided a sense of belonging to students that otherwise might not have connected to school,” Weber said. “He elicited faith and respect from everyone - a significant accomplishment.”

Braun agreed that Goldberg’s commitment to his students is what set him apart from other administrators.

“One former student told me the best thing about coming to school each day was knowing Mr. Goldberg will be at the Post Road entrance to greet her,” she said.

Jablonoski, a physics teacher, was applauded for breaking down gender barriers in what was traditionally a male-dominated field of study. According to Hamm, she was the only female physics teacher for many years, and one of only a handful in the entire department. He also complimented her ability in the kitchen, citing her raspberry bars and soda bread as personal highlights.

“What stands out the most is her eternally youthful spirit, and her calm, common-sensical approach to all challenges,” he said. “Her upbeat attitude, commitment to her department and the high school as a whole, was an inspiration to many. She’s been a role model to so many young women as she nurtured their love of all things scientific.”

Mace, who has been teaching foreign-language classes in the district for 33 years, was lauded for her love of the teaching material and of her students. She was further complimented for her ability to adapt and accept technology in the “third act of her career.” She was given a new nickname by her fellow retiree for her uncanny ability to never miss a class.

“She has a deep love of the French language, culture and literature. Students and faculty speak of her commitment and dedication, which have earned her the name ‘Iron Lady,’” Hamm said. “Such is her reputation for never missing a class that her students don’t even check to see if she’s absent. She was and is a devoted colleague and friend – one teacher characterized her as a ‘forever friend.’”

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