Several staff members receive well-deserved extended vacations


Mr. Miller, Music Teacher

After experiencing a COVID crazy year of teaching, many Mountaineer educators look forward to relaxing during their summer break. But over a dozen faculty members will have a “lifelong vacation” – retirement.

Ginny Belcher

Main office secretary Ginny Belcher’s lucky number seems to be 21. After working at Wachusett for 21 years, Belcher feels ready to retire in 2021. 

Both students and faculty alike have had an impact on Belcher. 

“The best thing about Wachusett is its people. The students are great. Even our toughest kids are nice,” said Belcher.

But the main office secretary said creating long-lasting relationships with the faculty members proved more important. 

“I will miss the staff. After you have been somewhere for twenty years you make some good friends,” said Belcher.

Although grateful for her experience at the Regional, Belcher said she looks forward to what will come next.

“It’s like moving on to the next chapter in my life.  Whatever that is,” said Belcher. “I plan on visiting my grandkids and traveling a bit more. I plan on just enjoying myself.”


Gail Puris 

After 28 years of teaching and 11 years at the high school, special education teacher Gail Puris said she feels excited to start a new chapter in her life. 

“I’m looking forward to sleeping in the morning,” said Puris. “I can’t wait to have more fun and less work.” 

More than anything, Puris said her students have impacted her life. 

“Many of my students have significant needs and this has given me perspective on life. My job humbles me,” said Puris. “I love my students and their families. “I will miss having an impact on their lives. I do this all for them.” 

Puris said she will also miss the Wachusett community.

“I love my colleagues and the people in my department,” she said. “It’s them and my students who have kept me here all these years.


Corey Carnazza and Mary Jane Quist

Often subtly aiding the students in the back of the classrooms, two valued special education paraprofessionals will be leaving at the end of this year. 

Corey Carnazza said she most enjoyed working with her students.

 “I enjoyed developing relationships with students and helping them navigate through their classes,” she said.

Although Carnazza said she will miss Regional, she also looks forward to starting a new chapter of her family life.

“My husband and I are selling our home in Holden and moving to Martha’s Vineyard,” said. Carnazza. “We will be spending much of our time with family and Dahlia farming. We also plan on doing some traveling.” 

Although they have only worked together for a year, special education teacher Candace Orrell said she is thankful for her time with Mary Jane Quist. 

“She is a pleasure to work with and was helpful in answering any questions I had,” said Orrell. “She would always make time to help a student, even if they were not in her class. She was definitely in it for the kids.” 


Anne Finkelstein 

Even though Health teacher Anne Finkelstein has been part of the Wachusett teaching staff for 33 years, she said her students continue to amaze her.

“I feel like I have a much better connection with the kids. They keep me young and they keep me caught up with the trends. I remember when ‘memes’ came out. I had no idea what they were, but my students informed me,” said Finkelstein.  

The people in the Wachusett community made the journey worthwhile, said Finkelstein.

“I feel like I have grown up at Wachusett. I had a few students who are now teachers with me or I have had parents and now I am teaching their kids as well,” said Finkelstein.  “When I was a young teacher others took me under their wing and mentored me. There was always someone there if you needed it.”

Finkelstein said she made a keepsake from her time spent at the Regional. 

“I remember when I was younger, I got three or four binders to hold all my thank-you notes and letters from students. My 23-year-old self said I should keep them and last weekend I went through them. I was so grateful,” said Finkelstein.  

Finkelstein said she leaves with her positive outlook on life.

“Now I don’t take anything for granted,” said Finkelstein. “I live each day and get the most out of everything,” 

Mr. Monahan completes course Perfectionnement de Francais in Nice, France.

Richard Monahan

Richard Monahan has taught Mountaineers French since September 1995, but his time to retire has come. 

“I will miss my students the most, mainly because they have enriched my life so much,” said Monahan. “I have probably learned more from them than they learned from me. They taught me that you can still take time to see the beauty in life, even when times are tough.”

Monahan said he has been lucky to have such an amazing job.

“Teaching French has been my life’s work and that’s why I love my job. I am very passionate and thankful that I am able to make a living out of something I love very much,” said Monahan. 

Colleague Mary Sanfacon said that he will be missed. 

“He is a dear friend, selfless, and generous teacher.  We always enjoy speaking French together,” said Sanfacon. 

According to his colleagues, Monahan has made significant contributions to the French department.

“He has added stability and so much enthusiasm. He always tries to broaden the students’ horizons,” said Sanfacon. 

Monahan said he will never forget the trip to Barcelona and Paris that he chaperoned. 

“I loved traveling with the students and seeing the joy on their faces when they saw the Eiffel Tower or just spoke French in the real world for the first time,” said Monahan. “It was just a wonderful experience.” 


Bob Becker

After nearly 40 years spent in the classrooms at the Regional, Biology teacher Bob Becker will leave for the last time on June 22nd. 

Becker, alumnus from the class of 1982, has spent his entire teaching career in the Wachusett district.

“He was one of my classmates, so we graduated together,” said Life Science teacher and Science department head, Beth Litterio-Foster. “He has also been a very integral member of our science department.”

During his tenure, Becker focused both on his roles as a teacher and as an educational activist.  

“Mr. Becker was very active in the WREA (Wachusett Regional Education Association), as well as the MTA (Massachusetts Teachers Association); he served as the local union president for over a decade,” Litterio-Foster said.

According to colleagues, Becker wouldn’t be one to be described as a boring teacher. 

“He very much has a dynamic personality,” said Litterio-Foster. “He really was able to make connections with students. He would always incorporate stories with his lessons that really captivated his audience.” 


Doug Miller

Mountaineer musicians will lose a memorable strings teacher this June when Doug Miller retires. 

Despite teaching for over three decades, Miller said he remains motivated to go to school every day. 

“My favorite part of teaching is 100% percent the students – that’s why I love what I do,” said Miller.

Mountaineer musicians said Miller impacted their lives. 

”Mr. Miller is definitely one of my favorite teachers at Wachusett. I enjoy attending his class and can confidently say that his teaching has improved my skills musically,” said junior Alex Jourdain. 

Miller said he knows it will be tough to walk away. 

“I love my job. I’m almost scared for that final week of school to come because that’s when it will hit me,” said Miller.

Although he does not have any definite plans after retirement, Miller said he looks forward to finding something to do and spending time with his family. 

“I don’t know exactly what it is that I will be doing,” said Miller. “But I’m not just going to ride off into the sunset.”

Mr. Miller takes a bow
Mr. Miller receives a standing ovation at his final concert.


Janet Loefstedt

After retiring from the military, History teacher Janet Loefstedt chose a new career in education.  But after 11 years of dedication to the Mountaineers, Loefstedt will take her “second retirement”. 

As she leaves, Loefstedt said she hopes her students will remember one valuable lesson from her class. 

“I love my country, the United States,” said Loefstedt. “But I want students to realize that it is also very important to understand the rest of the world and to get out and see it as much as you can.” 

Loefstedt said she has many fond memories of her time teaching. 

“I love it when kids take an interest in history,” said Loefstedt. “My most happy memories are when I do an activity in class that the students enjoy.”

According to Loefstedt, the community at Wachusett has left an impact on her. 

“The school always encourages growth and development. This really encouraged me to try new things,” said Loefstedt. 

Loefstedt said she looks forward to her life as a retiree. 

“I am excited to read anything I want. I often read books I thought were tied to my classes so I am looking forward to reading a lot more fiction,” she said. 

But Loefstedt said has even more planned for her future. 

“I will be doing a lot of hiking, biking, and relaxing,” she said.


Suzanne Rubenstein

From teaching English 10 Honors to Creative Writing, former English teacher, Suzanne Rubenstein spent 44 years working at Wachusett committed to helping her students become better communicators. 

“She was such a great teacher. She was very dedicated to helping her students become better writers,” said English teacher Sasha Possemato.

Rubenstein not only focused on teaching her students, she also shared her insight of the job with her fellow English teachers.

“When she taught writing, it wasn’t formulaic at all. She really just wanted students to express themselves naturally,” said Possemato. “It was good for me to remember that too. I think I’ve adapted that in my writing, or when I talk about teaching writing.” 

English department head Lynn Leschke added similar sentiments. 

“She was a former teacher of mine, so I felt really comfortable going to her and asking for her advice and working with her when I was a new teacher,” said Leschke.

Her experience and style of writing and teaching led to Rubenstein holding the respect of her peers and students. 

“She had seen a lot so therefore she could speak to it,” said Possemato. “I think her biggest impact was showing students how real writers write and how to become a real writer.” 


Glen Davis

Glen Davis, a Wachusett alumnus, retired this fall after 45 years of teaching Physics.

“He started his teaching career in the Wachusett district,” said Life Science teacher Beth Litterio-Foster. “He actually was a teacher at Central Tree Middle School and he came to the high school in 2001 where he taught Physics.”

Davis tried to liven up his classes with his many jokes and stories.

“He liked to tell stories and he liked to tell jokes. So he had kind of provided some comedic relief to the [science] department,” said Litterio-Foster.


Steve McCrell, Anne Ladner, James Potvin

This past year, custodian Steve McCrell finally took his long-deserved retirement after 37 ½ years of hard work at Wachusett. 

“We worked together for 7 ½ years,” said high school facility manager Mark Wilde, recalling memories of their time together. “He [McCrell] had extraordinary and extensive knowledge of the building,” said Wilde. 

Custodians Jimmy Potvin and Anne Ladner also retired this past year. 

“Jimmy had extreme mechanical aptitude. He could fix just about anything,” said Wilde.  “And Anne had a very bubbly personality.”

No matter what area of the high school these staff members spent their time in, they left their mark on both students and colleagues.