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Medford principal in no hurry to retire

Posted by Alix Roy  March 11, 2010 08:04 AM

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buker_mcglynnes.jpgOn June 30th, when the school year comes to a close, McGlynn Elementary School Principal Patricia Buker will retire, but until then, don't expect her to slow down.
 
“I have mixed feelings about it,” she said of her retirement. “I do get upset when people say 'you must be counting down the days.' That's just not true, I'm cherishing every minute until I leave.”

Around 8 o'clock Wednesday night, Buker is in her office after a meeting, capping off a long day. The long hours are something she won't be missing come summer. What she will miss are the faces that fill those hours.

“I love my kids, my kids are like my babies, all 605 of them,” she said. “I'll miss the teachers I considered my 'girls.' I'll miss the friendship.”

After 40 years in the Medford Public Schools, three as principal at McGlynn, Buker has become a motherly figure to the younger teachers under her supervision. When the weather is bad, she'll send out e-mails warning teachers to drive safely. Often, they respond, “Thanks mom,” she said.
 
Buker won't attribute her retirement to anything concrete, she just felt the time was right.
 
“Forty is a nice round number,” she joked.
 
To fill the void, she plans on getting a part-time job, but has no specific plans as of yet. Her next employer will be only the second of her career since she signed on as a kindergarten teacher at the Fulton School at the age of 21. That may sound young, but Buker said she always knew that's where she'd end up.

“When I was 5 years old in kindergarten I said, 'I want to be a kindergarten teacher,'” she said. “And that was my first job.”

Superintendent  Roy Belson announced plans to hire a new principal at a recent School Committee meeting, after thanking Buker for her years of service.

“She has served as a teacher, literacy coordinator, assistant principal, and principal,” Benson said. “She is deserving of our gratitude and praise for her dedication to the children and families of Medford.”

According to a timetable proposed by Benson, the position will be advertised through March 26, and an administrative review of all candidates will be conducted through April 16. An Advisory Committee composed of parents, teachers, staff and administrators will complete interviews with semi-finalists by April 30, allowing the School Committee until May 13 to conduct interviews and select a new principal.
 
Although she has not been formally asked to aid in the selection process, Buker said she would be more than willing to help. As a former School Committee member in her Wakefield hometown, Buker has aided in many principal searches before.

“I would like to help,” she said. “I would hope that I'd be asked.”

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