This year’s retirees leave indelible mark on the Regional


Ms. Foss-Deluca and Mr. Gribouski

The months of May and June signify the end of the school year at the Regional and for seniors, it marks the conclusion of their high school education.

But for some Wachusett staff, June 16th will be the end of their teaching careers. 

“Whenever losing people with lots of institutional knowledge, they are hard to replace at that level of ability, desire, and energy. It’s tough to get the complete package,” said principal Bill Beando.

When the final dismissal bell rings during the second week of June, Business teacher Janet Foss-Deluca, Special Education teacher Jeff Gribouski, Social Studies teacher Mark Sullivan, Special Education teacher Patricia Sweeney, and Special Education paraprofessional Roxanne Metterville will leave the school building one last time. Business teacher Peter Crowley, Physical Education teacher and varsity boys lacrosse coach Phil Jackson, Biology teacher John Schaper, custodian Charlie Wagner, study hall monitor Mary Ann Kaczmierczak, Food Service Director Marie Russell have also retired during this academic year. 

Foss-Deluca has been in the district for 28 years – many of them in the business classroom at the corner of the H hallway. 

According to senior Emma Lavigne, the longer she spent time with Foss-Deluca, the more she appreciated her as both a teacher and a mentor. 

“Ms. Foss helped me go into my field of study for college, and now I plan to study business marketing at the University of Tampa. With her help and guidance, I am better prepared going forward because of what she has done for me during my time here,” said Lavigne. 

Junior Josie Berry agreed. 

“She [Mrs. Foss] helped me realize that business is something that I want to pursue. I walked into my sophomore year Personal Finance class wanting to major in science in college. Now I have switched,” said Berry.

Foss-Deluca entered education after being a bank lender and executive at Mechanics Bank for 5 years.

“When my kids entered school, it made sense to switch. Having their schedule made teaching the perfect fit, and I liked being in a high school classroom,” said Foss-Deluca. “I also taught at Mountview Middle School [Holden] as a special education long term substitute, and then worked for ten years in the WRHS Directed Study program, which evolved into Freshman Seminar. That’s when I switched into the Business department.”

Even though Foss thoroughly enjoys her career, she said that the time has come to step away. 

“I love my job. I really love teaching. It’s bittersweet [leaving]. I feel like I am part mom and teacher here. I will really miss the students and my teacher friends, even though most have already retired,” said Foss-Deluca. “I told myself when I started teaching that when I was 65, I would retire to do other things. It’s solely on age.”

Gribouski, the special education teacher who heads the undergrad and postgrad vocational tech program, said he has thoroughly enjoyed his 29.5 years in education.

“I’m going to miss all the students. There is always something new that they are teaching you. I teach ages 14 to 22,” said Gribouski. “To see them grow up, it’s an amazing transformation from when they walked in as freshman.” 

Gribouski teaches approximately 50 students both work skills and soft skills – showing up on time, dressing up, and being attentive while working in food service, custodial, and clerical positions. 

“When in the classroom, we try to look at each individual student’s vision. We then individualize that goal and help them achieve it,” said Gribouski. “These skills can be brought to any job, and students are then able to get jobs in the district and the surrounding community.”

But Gribouski did not always work as a teacher.  

“I was a brick mason by trade. When the weather got rough, I worked running educational facilities and exhibits at the MSPCA and Angell Memorial Hospital. I then worked at a trade school,” said Gribouski. “After the late 80’s, the work in shop [brick masonry] decreased. I got a degree in education after the recession.”

Special Education paraprofessional Lori Girard, who has worked alongside Gribouski for the past 11 years, said that his presence will be missed. 

“The retirement of Mr. Gribouski [a.k.a Mr. G] means to me that the kids in Life Skills will be at a great loss. A true hard-to-replace teacher. It’s not that he is just a great teacher. He does so many jobs with our pre-VOC classes for our kids plus helping the cafeteria department and the main office with many things,” said Girard. “He has groomed the students to work hard, but at the same time to have fun learning new skills and new jobs for when they get ready to leave here.”

According to Girard, not only does Gribouski excel at teaching in the classroom, he also knows how to have fun.

“I have had so many great laughs with Jeff [Gribouski]. You could always count on his jokes, comments, or just gestures on making you laugh. Plus his famous lines every day, ‘It’s another day in paradise, and living the dream’!, and ‘Raise your hand if you’re not here!’ ,” said Girard.

Special Education Paraprofessional Sheila Peabody, who has worked with Gribouski for the past six years, agreed.
“There will be a very big space to fill here in Life Skills. He is such an important part of our department. He is always available for any student or staff that needs him and really contributes a lot towards how smoothly our program runs day to day,” said Peabody. “He does everything he can to make sure the students are prepared with the skills they need after leaving our post grad program.” 

Peabody said she has appreciated her time with Gribouski and said that he has a special bond with his students.

“He has made such a huge difference in so many students’ lives throughout the years. There were so many memories over the years. But one that stands out to me is when Mr. Gribouski dressed up as the elf on the shelf and sat on his filing cabinet to surprise the students as they walked into class,” said Peabody.

With Foss-Deluca’s and Gribouski’s time as Mountaineer staff ending, the building will have to make up for their departure.

“The classes may be different with new people and new teachers. After 25 years [Mrs. Foss’s specific time at Wachusett], it’s going to be different not hearing these big names everyone at school, especially the upperclassmen, talk about,” said freshman Brody Martin, a student of Foss-Deluca.

English teacher Sasha Possemato, member of the WRHS Social Committee, said that these teachers guided her when she began teaching at the Regional 20 years ago. 

“Mr. Gribouski is a great colleague. He’s warm, kind, and will be sorely missed by school’” said Possemato. “When I started here at Wachusett, Mrs. Foss made it a point to get to know the new hires. She always brought positive energy. She is a very fun and welcoming person.”

Principal Beando expressed similar sentiments. 

“Both [Foss-Deluca and Gribouski] truly like kids. I have had several conversations for each educator advocating for their students and their students’ success,” said Beando. “They truly are the champions of kids.”

The WRHS Social Committee has planned a June 1st celebration for the retirees.

“I have been on the committee for seven years. I decided to join to boost school morale, and to connect with my colleagues across different subjects and classroom areas. I want the retirees to be recognized for their hard work,” said Possemato, a member of the Social Committee. “Education can be a very tiring profession. This job has to be a balance and depends on what is right for you. They both should enjoy every moment. They have been staple people who will be dearly missed.”