Photos and Video: Shaker Lane School Bids Farewell to Two Beloved Retirees

Littleton Public Schools
Dr. Kelly R. Clenchy, Superintendent
33 Shattuck Street,
Littleton, MA 01460

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 10, 2019

Media Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Shaker Lane Bids Farewell to Two Beloved Retirees

36-year Veteran Teacher Leaving Behind Same Classroom Where She Once Sat as a Student

LITTLETON — Sandy Hill first stepped into Room 106 at Shaker Lane School as a 6-year-old girl in the late 1960’s. Later this month, she’ll say goodbye to that classroom for the final time.

On Thursday, June 6, Hill — retiring after 36 years as a first grade teacher working in room 106 — and longtime Shaker Lane nurse Janice Hartford were honored for their deep impact on the Shaker Lane community during their combined 45 years at the school.

“Sandy is the kind of teacher that you hope will never retire,” Shaker Lane Principal Michelle Kane said. “She’s got just as much enthusiasm for teaching as she did on day one.” 

Her dedication to her students was plainly visible as she held back tears while addressing a room of students, parents and colleagues in the Shaker Lane library. She interrupted her remarks to point out first grader Wyatt Banister, who was skipping birthday dinner to attend his teacher’s party, and led the attendees in singing “Happy Birthday.” 

For Kane, who is finishing her second year as Shaker Lane principal, Hill and Hartford’s shared expertise has been an invaluable resource. 

“They have such a wealth of knowledge, so I tap into them all of the time,” Kane said. “Janice is the perfect elementary school nurse because she approaches her job with such compassion and patience, and it will be hard walking into the nurse’s office and not seeing her there.”

Hartford, who after spending the last nine years at Shaker Lane is nearing the end of a decades-long career, earned praise for her approach to treating students’ injuries and ailments — both real and imagined — with equal care and a bit of “magic ice.”

“While many of her patients truly come to her with an injury or illness, many appear at Janice’s door for the kind and nurturing relationship she creates with the students at Shaker Lane,” School Committee Chairman Mike Fontanella said.

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Following the formal portion of the party, which included a presentation of commendations from both chambers of the State House, Hill found herself being interrupted by a line of students wanting to give her a hug and wish her well. At the same time, Hartford was surrounded by colleagues, parents and students who will miss her gregarious presence in the nurse’s office.

“I’m not going to miss the lice and the ticks, and I’m not going to miss the EpiPens,” Hartford joked, “But I will miss the people.”

Fontanella estimated that Hill, who returned to Shaker Lane after graduating college, has had 700 students come and go from her classes over her 36-year career. For Hill, the idea that she’s finally leaving Shaker Lane behind is surreal.

“I’ve been coming here since I was 6 years old, and I just cant believe I’m leaving, but I know it’s the right thing,” Hill said. “It’s been a great ride and I look forward to coming back and finding out what everybody’s doing.”

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