Board Greets New Faces, Parts with Old Ones

May 20, 2019

ASHBURNHAM — The Ashburnham-Westminster School Committee welcomed aboard its newly elected members Tuesday night while also saying goodbye to three dedicated board members.

Former committee members Dave Christianson, Michelle Gianino, and Gwen Farley were recognized during a school committee meeting for their collective 43 years of service to the district.

“It’s not just what happens in this room,” said Superintendent Gary Mazzola. “It’s the work that you do, all the hours and days on the train, at meetings, conversations, emails. It takes passion and perseverance, this service.”

Christianson wraps up a 17 year stint on the board, most of which were spent as the chairman. He was on the board from 2002 to 2019.

“You’ve led this school committee with dedication, perseverance, and eloquence,” said Superintendent Gary Mazzola. “The communities of Ashburnham-Westminster owe you a debt of gratitude for the many challenges over the years that you’ve faced, dealt with, and solved.”

Gianino, who served from 2007 to 2019, is also closing the book on her 12 year position with the committee.

“This kind of dedication to a cause is rare today, and you are to be commended for exercising this kind of commitment to our young people and these two communities,” said Mazzola.

Farley was honored for 15 years of serving from 2004 to 2019, including working on the communication and technology subcommittees.

“We thank you for the scientific way in which you’ve helped us solve problems and lead the way,” said Mazzola.

Committee member William Ewing commended the departing members for their relentless effort, their wisdom, and dedication to school oversight.

It was a bittersweet moment for the committee, with one chapter ending and another one just beginning.

Former Selectman Kyle Johnson and Jennifer Storm of Ashburnham and Janet Smith from Westminster were the new members elected to the board on April 30.

William Ewing and Andrew Storm both returned to swerve for another term.

Mazzola, in the absence of a secretary on the committee, swore in the five members and had them recite their oath of office.

With a new group, the committee needed to elect new officers.

Ewing was recognized as the chairman, Winifred Kender of Ashburnham as the vice chairperson, and Justin Sparks the new secretary.

Mazzola also retires at the end of June, meaning school administration will have a new look coming next school year.

Daniel Monahan: , dmonahan@sentinelandenterprise.com

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