THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE presented gifts to five out of seven retirees during a June 4 meeting. From left, School Committeeman Jamie Hayman, School Committee member Jenny Sheehan, School Committee Chair Kate DePrizio, Huckleberry Hill School Principal Melissa Wyland, IT support technician Steve Luiso, Summer Street clerk Gina Gustafson, Summer Street fourth grade teacher Kristine Percoskie, School Committee member Jim Dillon, Lynnfield Preschool paraprofessional Cynthia Fagan, School Committee Vice Chair Kristen Grieco Elworthy and Interim Superintendent Tom Geary. Missing from photo is LHS science teacher Dr. Karyn O’Neill and Student Services Director Roberta Keane.  (Dan Tomasello Photo)


LYNNFIELD — The School Committee recognized seven retirees for their service to Lynnfield Public Schools during a June 4 meeting.

Interim Superintendent Tom Geary said recognizing the seven retirees, five of whom attended the meeting, was “bittersweet.”

“We have wonderful people leaving us,” said Geary. “It’s terrific to honor them, but we are sad to see them go.”

Geary said Lynnfield Preschool paraprofessional Cynthia Fagan has worked at Summer Street School since 2013.

“Cynthia has been a loving, caring and extremely important part of our preschool program,” said Geary. “She has been dedicated to our youngest learners since she started. She has led with the kindness and guidance needed as they start their educational careers. She is always willing to sit on the floor, get messy with our preschoolers and met every student with her warm demeanor. Mornings and afternoons won’t be the same without her friendly face at the preschool pick up and drop off circle each day. I know that from when my own kids were in preschool. We will miss you.”

Geary said Summer Street School clerk Gina Gustafson retired in April.

“Prior to working at Summer Street, Gina started working in the School Counseling Office at the high school in 2004,” said Geary. “She was a wonderful help to students and families, especially with navigating the college and scholarship process. She worked hard to help kids earn scholarships and coordinate with local groups and organizations, and brought it all together for families. Her love for helping students was evident in everything she did for them. Upon her move to Summer Street in 2018, she was the first face families would see when they came into the main office. All felt her warmth, kindness and her tremendous organizational abilities. Congratulations on your retirement.”

Geary said Summer Street School fourth grade teacher Kristine Percoskie began working for the district in 1996.

“Kris began her career in Lynnfield at Huckleberry Hill School back in the 1996-1997 school year after serving as a teacher in another town,” said Geary. “She has been a force in the elementary schools, covering so many different areas for us. She taught third grade and fourth grade, and also worked as a tutor at Huckleberry Hill School. During her time at Summer Street, she was a tutor, job shared for second grade for a year and has taught fourth grade for the longest period of time. Her wealth of knowledge of curriculum, teaching and all things Lynnfield has been such a touch point for students, staff and families. Kris always found a way to connect with every child, helped them be successful and ready to move on to middle school. Once her students left elementary school, Kris was often able to reconnect with them and has stayed in touch with them to this day. Her presence will be missed. She likes to play golf, and hopefully there is more time for that in the future. Congratulations.”

Geary said informational technology support technician Steve Luiso has worked for the district since January 2008.

“Steve brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and became invaluable to the district right away,” said Geary. “From phones, networks, hardware, software, servers, printers — you name it, he has been a driving force behind the smooth operation of our technology in the district. He has been a liaison between the town and our Technology Department, forging strong relationships and ensuring our technology needs are met wherever they are. He has been dedicated to helping staff, administration, students and teachers. He always goes above and beyond. And speaking from personal experience, nobody arrived earlier in the day than Steve. He made a profound impact on Lynnfield Public Schools, and his dedication shaped our technology landscape as we progressed forward. Congratulations Steve.”

Geary said Principal Melissa Wyland has served Huckleberry Hill School students, families and teachers for the past 22 years.

“For 17 years, Melissa worked as a first grade teacher and as assistant to the principal at Huckleberry Hill,” said Geary. “Her classroom served as a model to others, as she was teaching social-emotional learning way before it was recognized as such. From her early days on the Hill, Melissa’s connections with students and families were strong. She was nominated and recognized by the Boston Red Sox at one point as ‘Most Valuable Teacher.’”

Geary said Wyland’s “elevation to interim principal in 2019 was a natural progression.”

“Melissa was quickly named permanent principal shortly thereafter,” said Geary. “Navigating the pandemic, remote learning, social distancing and health protocols was not what she had in mind that first year, but she took the challenge on as a true Huckleberry Hero. Inspired by her students, colleagues and families, Melissa adopted the slogan, ‘every student, every day, whatever it takes.’ This influenced her decisions in all aspects and was her guiding light. It will forever be engrained at Huckleberry going forward. Melissa can often be heard saying, ‘every time I pull into the parking lot, I consider it an honor to be here.’ It was our honor to have her as a teacher, mentor, colleague and friend. She will be missed. Congratulations.”

School Committee Chair Kate DePrizio presented the five retirees with a gift. The meeting’s attendees gave each retiree a round of applause.

“It’s a bittersweet night,” said DePrizio.

Geary said retiring Lynnfield High School science teacher Dr. Karyn O’Neill and Student Services Director Roberta Keane were unable to attend the meeting. O’Neill has taught at LHS for 24 years, and is known for her love of teaching chemistry. Keane, who has been on a medical leave of absence since December, began leading the Student Services Department in August 2018.

“We congratulate them on their retirement,” said Geary.