Party Held in His Honor at Winnacunnet
By Nancy Rineman
Hampton Union, Tuesday, June 15, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]
[Nancy rineman photo]
HAMPTON -- Retiring SAU 21 Superintendent Jim Gaylord was surrounded by well-wishers Friday afternoon, with close to 100 of his peers, family and community members gathering in the Winnacunnet dining hall for a retirement party in his honor.
Gaylord is retiring after seven years as the superintendent overseeing six districts that make up SAU 21, a reign of consecutive years that stands out as one of the school administrative unit's longest in that position.
Speakers at Gaylord's event voiced a common observation of the outgoing superintendent, that he had faith in those he hired.
"If he had confidence in you, he said, 'Go do it,'"‰" former Hampton and Winnacunnet School Board member Chris Singleton said. "It made it easy."
"He did a lot of big things," Singleton said, remarking that the $26 million warrant article for Winnacunnet's renovation and addition passed during Gaylord's watch.
"He was great in the community; people liked him," Singleton said. "He didn't have to be the person on stage or be in the spotlight all the time."
Sandy Nickerson, who served 18 years on the Hampton School Board, described Gaylord as "a gentleman and a gentle man."
Nickerson praised Gaylord for allowing board members to make the final decision, while pointing out the pitfalls of that decision when necessary.
"You taught us well," Nickerson said. "There's no 'I' in team."
"Jim, I am very proud to have worked with you as a School Board member but I am more proud to say that you are a friend," Nickerson said.
Winnacunnet High School Principal Randy Zito, who is also retiring this year, agreed with Nickerson's comment about team.
"It is about team," Zito said, adding that Gaylord is a "great listener."
Dr. Mark Joyce, executive director of the N.H. School Administrators Association, was also on hand to honor Gaylord.
"Jim is highly regarded in the profession as a whole," Joyce said. "He's made a real difference for our children."
Dr. Douglas McDonald, retired Timberlane Regional School District superintendent, stressed the importance of a supportive family for the demands of time for the profession. He recognized Gaylord's wife, Donna, and children for allowing Gaylord that time.
"He made a real difference in the lives of other children," McDonald said.
Richard Carney was one of Gaylord's students in Winthrop, Maine, in 1975.
"I always knew he changed my life in his history classes," Carney said.
He presented the Gaylords with a lamp boasting a stain-glass lampshade he had made from materials he collects deep-sea diving, and his livelihood, "Old Bottle Seaglass of Maine."
Hampton Truant Officer Fred Muscara, formerly an administrator at Winnacunnet, as well as interim principal, then principal of Hampton Academy, agreed with those who praised Gaylord's commitment to students.
"That's what Jim is all about," Muscara said. "'How will that impact the kids?'
"He hires you and let's you do your job," Muscara said. "When I needed help, I called and he was always there for me."
"It's been a great ride," Gaylord said, as he addressed the gathering. "This is the beginning of another great trip.
"I am so pleased that my family is here, with the built-in surprise of all three of my children being here," Gaylord said, referring to the fact that in addition to daughter, Jennifer, and son, Jason, his eldest son, Jeffrey, had come from Florida for the party.
"It's hard to believe that I've gotten here this fast," Gaylord said, smiling at his wife of 37 years.
Gaylord said in his time at SAU 21, he worked with 61 different School Board members. He also quipped that while he served as superintendent for seven years, he had gone to "enough night meetings to have worked here nine years."
"I will always reserve a place in my heart for this SAU," Gaylord said. "It's been my honor to have served as the superintendent of schools for SAU 21."
"Thank you," Gaylord said in parting. "It has been very nice to have served the children of this community and I appreciate it."
James Gaylord, retiring SAU 21 superintendent, will take new post in the Chester School District.