DANVERS — Superintendent Heidi Riccio announces the retirement of a longtime member of the Essex Tech community.
Administrative Assistant Candace “Candy” Levesque will retire on Aug. 18 after working at the agricultural and technical school for just over 23 years.
“Candy has seen our district undergo major change, in particular the 15 year merger which led to the opening of ENSATS as we know it today in 2014,” Superintendent Riccio said. “As such, she has a wealth of knowledge of our history. She’s been an integral member of our community, and a joy to work alongside. We will miss her deeply, and wish her a happy retirement.”
Levesque joined the school in February 1997 when the district was known as the North Shore Regional Vocational School. She first served as the administrative assistant to the Student Services coordinator and the Special Education director. In 1999, she became the executive secretary and office manager for then-Superintendent Director Edmund W. Barry Jr. She’s continued to serve in that capacity since then for four Superintendent-Directors, including Superintendent Riccio.
“My mother has always been such a great role model for us, showing that working hard, being dedicated and always believing in yourself allows you to accomplish anything,” said her daughter, Amanda Crosby, who graduated from Essex Tech in 1999 and studied marketing. “I am who I am today because of all the values she instilled in me. She was there from the beginning of the North Shore and Essex Agricultural merger when it was just an idea to it becoming a reality. She has given so much to the Essex North Shore community. As an alumni, I am sad for the community that she is retiring as it truly is a loss for them, but as her daughter, I am ecstatic for her for all that she has accomplished and what the future holds for her.”
During her time, Levesque has proved to be a vital member of the team as the school underwent significant changes. Starting in 1999, Levesque helped then-Principal (and later Superintendent-Director) Amelia O’Malley and Superintendent Director Barry work with elected officials on the merger of North Shore Technical High School, Essex Agricultural High School and the Peabody Veterans Memorial High School vocational programs. Once the merger was complete, the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District opened in 2014.
“Without Candy, the job of the superintendent will be much more difficult,” said retired Superintendent-Director O’Malley. “In addition to her many professional skills, she has a historical knowledge of the school that cannot be matched. During my tenure Candy, was my right arm and most importantly my dear, dear friend. Even after all these years, hardly a day goes by that I don‘t think of her and miss her. I wish her health and happiness in her retirement.”
Levesque has also played a major role in the ongoing rebuilding of the Catherine Larkin Memorial Cottage Restoration Project. The cottage was originally built in 1950 and was named after Catherine Larkin, an alumnus and World War II nurse Lieutenant who died in a plane crash in 1945. The new cottage will include an agricultural museum, learning center and community function space.
“Fred Rogers once said, ‘Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.’,” said Levesque. “I’ve been grateful to work with everyone at Essex Tech for the last 23 years and to see the entire community grow. Vocational education offers students an exceptional, unique opportunity and it’s been an honor to be a part of their experience. I will miss everyone dearly, but look forward to this next chapter in my life.”
Levesque added she looks forward to relaxing and spending time with her family, particularly at the lake.
A retirement party may be held for Levesque at a later date depending on the state’s guidance pertaining to social distancing and large gatherings.