McCann Recognizes Past School Committee MembersBy Tammy Daniels
01:50AM / Monday, March 17, 2014
Committee members honored were Jana Hunkler, left, Mayor Richard Alcombright, Alice Houghtaling, Heather Boulger and John Hockridge. Michael Hernandez was unable to attend.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — McCann Technical School thanked past committee members for their years of service with the presentation of plaques recognizing their years of service.
"Oftentimes, we usually say congratulations and then you leave," said Superintendent James Brosnan at Thursday's School Committee. "We wanted to formally recognize you, and as members of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees."
The six people were recognized for 74 total years of service, although one, Mayor Richard Alcombright, has just returned as a representative from the North Adams School Committee.
"It's not that we didn't want to come back," said Heather Boulger, who served seven years. "We just thought other school committee members and other community members should experience it."
Brosnan said he felt it was important to recognize the many years of attending meetings and trainings and the public service of the honorees, including their involvement in MASC.
"They certainly support the tenets of that organization," he said
"This committee has always been very, very special to me," longtime member James Gazzinaga said. "And the six people we are honoring tonight are the perfect illustration.
"I can never ever remember a contentious moment on this committee."
The longest serving member honored was recently retired Alice Houghtaling at 19 years, who saw three of her children graduate from the school, as well as two sons-in-law. But she has served far longer on the Monroe School Committee and the Northern Berkshire School Union.
Alice Houghtaling, 19 years
Richard Alcombright, 17 years
Michael Hernandez, 16 years
John Hockridge, 9 years
Heather Boulger, 7 years
Jana Hunkler, 7 years
"I've been on the school committee for 40 years because my daughter was in kindergarten when I started," Houghtaling said. "I got elected every year and nobody else wanted to be on it."
The biggest changes she's seen have been in McCann's programming since hiring Brosnan (both she and Alcombright were on the search committee that recommended him).
"I think its just breathtaking all the stuff he took on and carried through," she said. "McCann is the greatest tech school around."
It's also a school district whose committee works well together and tends to vote unanimously.
"It was a joy to be on it because you could express your opinion and it seemed like everybody listened," Houghtaling said.
In other business, the committee heard that McCann students scored 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze in the SkillsUSA competition last week. The school hosted some 700 students competing in categories from restaurant service to sheet metal to computer applications.