RSU 29 personnel recognized for service

11 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — Houlton Elementary School personnel honored retiring staff members at a dinner catered by Lorraine Clark at the school cafeteria on June 12. Friends, family and colleagues gathered for a social hour, a dinner and special presentations. Those honored were Susan Wilmot, Houlton Elementary administrative assistant, Susan McMann, kindergarten teacher, and first grade teacher Lisa Taylor, who is leaving her position due to health and family commitments.

Remarks were shared on behalf of the RSU 29 School Board by incoming superintendent Joe Fagnant. Candace Crane, principal of the elementary school, offered her congratulations to those being honored and wished them well in their new chapter. 

Incoming RSU29 Superintendent, Joe Fagnant presented a gift to Susan Wilmot on behalf of the district and the members of the school board. Wilmot retired with 43 years in the district. She was honored along with others at a dinner at Houlton Elementary School on June 12.
(Courtesy of Karen Donato)

Wilmot has been in the district for 39 years. She was a special education tech, a kindergarten ed. tech and grade 3 ed. tech, before becoming an administrative assistant. She worked under former principals, Beverly Clark and Bob Cowperthwaite and current principal, Candace Crane. Wilmot was the voice on the phone for many calls from parents and staff. She often had to handle challenging calls, while maintaining a calming voice under sometimes stressful conditions.

Crane referred to her as often being in the middle of an eight-lane highway with everything one can imagine coming at her. She fielded all kinds of questions from parents such as, “why are the buses late, or early, what is for lunch today, is it early release today, can you tell me the telephone number for Southside or the high school?” She also tended to teachers’ requests for attendance records, or missing orders or “can you get a substitute for me?” Wilmot handled everything with a smile, never complaining and always being at work even when she was going through treatments for cancer.

McMann moved to Houlton from Virginia, after her husband Bernie retired from the service. She opened the Happy Apple Nursery School for several years before becoming a full-time kindergarten teacher at Wellington School in Monticello in 2005. She transferred to Houlton Elementary School when Wellington closed in 2014. McMann officially retired in the spring of 2022 with 17 years in the classroom. She had to leave before the end of the school year to have foot surgery that required a lengthy recovery. Due to COVID restrictions last spring her retirement celebration was delayed. Missing the classroom, this spring, she accepted a tutoring job back at the elementary school for students who needed extra help to catch up on academics. She will return to that part-time position in the fall.

Taylor began her RSU 29 career in 2011 as a special education ed. tech. In 2020 she accepted a second grade classroom position for a year and then moved into first grade. Taylor was praised for her creativity, her knowledge of technology and going the extra mile for her students and peers during COVID.

Each special guest received a gift from the elementary school and one from the district.