GOULDSBORO — Four staff members retiring from Peninsula School don’t really want to leave, at least not completely.
Principal Sally Leighton, school counselor Mary Knowlton, teacher Rose Arnett and library educational technician Bonnie Kane are all set to retire at the end of June.
Their answers to questions about their future plans came with a bit of an echo.
“I think I will keep my hand in substituting,” Leighton said.
“I plan to do some subbing,” said Knowlton.
“I hope to sub some, just to stay in the schools,” Arnett said.
“I think I’ll be back in the fall,” said Kane. “If they’re interested, I’m willing to do some volunteering.
Of course, they all said they’re looking forward to the freedom that comes with retirement, such as traveling without the constraints of school schedules. But, they also hold onto a connection with the school, students, each other and other staff.
Knowlton has worked closely with Leighton since the school opened in 2010. She said learning that Leighton was also leaving makes her departure easier.
Her decision is also made a little easier because her sister — Arnett — is also retiring. The ties the retirees have to one another have played an important role in their careers.
“It’s been such a great community here,” Kane said. “For so many years, it’s been such a stable staff. We’re very close.”
Leighton said it is unusual for that many people to be retiring from a faculty of 22.
“We have all been here together for many years,” she said. “But that’s the catch, isn’t it? We are all at the same point in our careers.”
Leighton has been an educator for 45 years. She has worked at several area schools, including Sumner Memorial and Mount Desert Island high schools as both a teacher and principal.
Knowlton has been an educator for 40 years. She spent 25 years as a business teacher at Sumner and, for the past 15 years, has been the counselor. She currently serves students at both the Peninsula School and Ella Lewis Elementary School in Steuben.
Arnett has been an educator for 34 years and has taught several different grades. She has been at the Peninsula School for the past nine years.
For Kane, education is actually her third career. She worked as an insurance agent and then as a senior planner for the state Planning Office in Augusta before landing her position at the Peninsula School. She said she was glad to leave her previous careers and the Augusta area.
“There’s such a sense of community here, way more than any place else I’ve lived,” she said.
All of the educators said they enjoyed watching their students grow and hope they were able to be a positive influence.
“I always wanted to retire while I still loved my job,” Knowlton said.