OSSINING, N.Y. – For more than 13 years, Felix Flores has felt a special bond with the community as an educator with the Ossining School District.
Flores, who spent more than six years as an elementary school principal with Brookside and Claremont elementary schools, said it’s that bond and the dedication of the people of Ossining that make it so difficult to retire.
“My whole family and I love Ossining so I’m not going anywhere,” Flores said Tuesday night during the Ossining School District’s ceremony recognizing tenure recipients and retirees. “I have mixed feelings because I’m going to miss so much of what I do and especially the interactions with the great parents and kids in Ossining.”
The ceremony at the Ossining Public Library was filled with bittersweet moments recognizing a changing of the guard with the Ossining Union Free School District. Ossining administration recognized and honored seven educators who are retiring after the 2011-12 school year. The administration also recognized a dozen teachers who have gained tenure during the school year. Superintendent of Schools Phyllis Glassman said she also had mixed feelings during the ceremony.
“Tonight is all about rebirth and renewal,” Glassman said. “We’re recognizing several teachers who have been in the district for quite a while who have left quite a powerful legacy behind. It will be a great loss for the district to say goodbye to our retirees and yet we have a group of teachers who are now granted with tenure and they will be the renewal of that legacy.”
Glassman added that it would be difficult to not have administrators like Flores working in the Ossining School District.
“He’s not only a resident and an educator but he’s a parent and he’s done an exemplary job in both schools,” Glassman said. “Now he’s taking the next chapter in his life and we hope he will be in Ossining for a long time.”
Flores said he’s not going to stop being an advocate for education.
“I want to be a strong advocate for public education. I feel like it’s under attack across the country and I feel like parents, administrators and positive people need to keep supporting education,” ,” Flores said, adding that he still has two children in AMD Middle School.
For Margaret Greco, who is retiring after working for more than 20 years as a physical education teacher, it will be difficult not knowing the children in the community.
“I’m going to miss the people and all of my children. I always made an effort to know and meet every one of the children who came through,” Greco. “I gave my heart and soul to Ossining and Ossining gave its heart and soul to me.”
Greco said she was proud of the new teachers gaining tenure Tuesday night.
“I remember when I got tenure and I remember being so excited that I had to do a whole special luncheon for everyone at AMD,” Greco said.
Jessica Beattie, Ossining High School’s theater teacher, said she thrilled to gain tenure at her second home.
“I feel like I’ve found my place and home in the world,” Beattie said. “I wouldn’t want any other group but my Ossining students.”