RETIRING School Department payroll accountant Steve Hartery (center) is presented an award of appreciation for “29 years of dedication to the faculty and staff of the North Reading Public Schools” from Supt. Dr. Patrick Daly (left) and Asst. Supt. of Finance and Operations Michael Connelly. (Courtesy Photo)


NORTH READING – After more than 29 years on the job, School Department payroll accountant Stephen Hartery is retiring to a life of travel and looking after grandchildren.

“I appreciate having had the opportunity to work for North Reading all these years,” Hartery said. “Every day has been a learning experience. They say if you enjoy your work, you don’t work a day in your life. That has been my experience.”

His connection to the town goes back much further than that given he attended the Little School, the Junior High School, and graduated from North Reading High School in 1974 where he played four years of football, hockey and baseball. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Daly noted that Hartery was the winning pitcher for the Hornet baseball team that won two state baseball titles in the same year for Division 1 and Division 2. His late mother Dorothy also worked as a secretary at both the Little and Batchelder Schools for many years.

The School Committee and administration honored Hartery with kind remarks and a plaque given “in grateful appreciation of your 29 years of dedication to the faculty and staff of the North Reading Public Schools” at their meeting Monday, January 23, which was also Hartery’s birthday. “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Steve the last 10 years,” said Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Michael Connelly, one of three such people in that position to work with Hartery. “He mastered his craft doing payroll. It’s an extremely difficult position. A lot of reports have to go through accurately and on time. We’ll miss his pride in his work and his devotion to North Reading.”

Connelly also praised Hartery for “realizing the job is more than the numbers. It’s about people,” and the help he gave employees setting up retirement accounts. Hartery previously worked under former School Department business managers Roger Young and Carl Nelson.

Daly called Hartery “kind of an important guy. If he doesn’t do his job, no one gets paid. His retirement is a bittersweet moment for us. He’s a great guy and a friend.”

Daly is one of six superintendents with whom Hartery has worked. Daly noted that longtime Superintendent Dr. Francis X. O’Donoghue hired Hartery on August 23, 1993. He subsequently worked for Dr. David S. Troughton (1994–2009), interim Superintendent Dr. Keith Manville (2009), Kathy Willis (Feb. 2009–Oct. 2014) and Jon C. Bernard (Oct. 2014–Jan. 2020).

Hartery was employed as an accountant prior to being hired by the North Reading Public Schools, but prior to that, Daly noted, Hartery had a brief stint playing professional baseball. After being awarded his Business Management degree from North Adams State College, where he also played baseball, he was drafted into the Chicago Cubs Minor League where he played one year, followed by a year with a Canadian league. Daly told Hartery, “We’re going to miss you.”

Maureen Doherty contributed to this report.