Friday, June 11, marks the end of the school year for Killington Elementary School (KES) students — and three long-serving staff members.
“This year, I will not only say goodbye to an amazing group of sixth graders who will go on to middle school, but also to some faculty and staff who have served KES students and this community for several years,” wrote principal Mary Guggenberger in a recent KES newsletter. “Change can be difficult to accept, especially when it involves people who we love and who make us better human beings by living their values. Knowing that there is a plan to fill the void is comforting and brings me joy to share that plan with the KES community.”
Sheila Pilsmaker will be retiring after 17 years as administrative assistant to the principal at KES. “Sheila has been more than just an administrative assistant at KES. She has been the nurse designee, the calm voice of reason, the listening ear, the problem solver, the sense of humor, the confidante, the organizer, and the communications editor, to name a few,” wrote Guggenberger. “Sheila’s dedication to ensuring that all KES students had access to skiing and riding experiences through the Trailblazers program was steadfast. She began collaborating with the Killington Ski Resort in September of each school year to make sure that each KES student was on the list to receive a discounted ski pass in order to participate in the program. Sheila recruited the numerous volunteers that made the program possible and became very passionate about appropriately grouping children and placing them with the right volunteer. For nine weeks January to March, Sheila organized the ski groups, in addition to all of her ‘regular’ duties as admin. asst., to make sure each child was placed in the developmentally appropriate group that would most advance their snow skills. I dare say, few people could do what Sheila did for the Trailblazers program. Her love for the education of children in all respects is reflected in her work in the Trailblazers program. KES has been so fortunate to reap her talents as a professional, as well as her values as a human being. You will be deeply missed for much time to come but we wish you health and happiness in your new adventures ahead.”
Next year, Margaret (“Marty”) Allen will serve as the administrative assistant to the principal. Allen holds a BA in economics from Bucknell University and an MBA from Moravian College. She has worked at KES for the past three years as a general education paraprofessional. She also has helped with health screenings in the mornings and greeting children and parents at drop off. “All of the students know Mrs. Allen at KES and will be comforted to see a familiar face at the front desk,” wrote Guggenberger. “Mrs. Allen is extremely tech savvy and is detail oriented. Her organizational skills and knowledge of the daily operations of a preK-6 school will transfer to meeting the needs of the school community seamlessly. She also knows a thing or two about skiing which is crucial in launching and maintaining the Trailblazers program. KES welcomes Mrs. Allen to the front desk!”
Christine Morton will be retiring after 15 years as music director at KES.
“Christine was integral in bringing instrumental music lessons and band to KES students,” wrote Guggenberger. “Her position morphed into two full days of music instruction to include instrumentals and band to all students in grades 4-6 who desired to play an instrument. Christine shared her passion for all types of music through the beautiful musicals that she produced and directed twice a year. She inspired the most reluctant performers to find joy in singing and movement to the rhythm of music. Her passion for teaching and love of music was the recipe for success for KES students. She will be dearly missed among the faculty and staff at KES.”
Next year, Sarah Penna will be teaching music and band at both KES and The Prosper Valley School. Penna has a bachelor’s in music from Moravian College and recently graduated from the honors program. As a recent graduate, she has extensive experience in ensembles including choir, orchestra, wind ensemble, percussion and big band. She has also studied piano and voice and participated in senior level recitals at Moravian.
“Sarah has a passion for sharing her love of music with children and has dedicated time while in college to working as a musical director at Longmeadow Summer Enrichment, as a piano and voice teacher at Burzynski Music Studio as well as other music studios. She is excited to move to Vermont where family is close by and looks forward to being part of the two school communities. KES is very excited to work with Ms. Penna and experience her talents in music education,” wrote Guggenberger.
Susan Clarke will be moving out of the area at the end of this school year. Clarke became the KES school nurse in 2013. She “has been an integral part of many aspects of our school community for the last eight years,” wrote Guggenberger. “She has triaged bloodied knees and elbows, removed embedded slivers, and anything needing an ice pack for both children and adults at KES with sincere care and concern while creating a safe place in the nurse’s office. We will miss her professionalism, sense of humor, and trusted friendship at KES.”
Next year, Amy Young will be the school nurse for KES and Reading Elementary School. Young graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor of science degree in nursing with a minor in psychology and counseling. She is a registered nurse with experience working with children ages 3 months to 21 years old.
“She deeply cares about serving children and their families as her volunteerism includes teaching and leading fitness classes, providing respite for toddlers’ primary caregivers, and teaching children value-based lessons and crafts at summer school,” wrote Guggenberger. “Ms. Young will be an asset to the students, faculty, and staff at KES and RES as well as to the greater community. We look forward to working with her!”