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Heather Boulger, center with her mother Donna Putnam and Mayor Jennifer Macksey, is being recognized as a Life Member of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. She was celebrated Tuesday night at Brayton School.
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Former North Adams School Committee Member Honored for Service

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Cake and coffee is served at the conclusion of Tuesday's meeting. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Heather Putnam Boulger spent 24 years as a member of the School Committee until stepping down from last year's election. 
But her long service hasn't been forgotten: Boulger is being honored with a Massachusetts Association of School Committees' Life Member Award. 
The award will be presented at the MASC annual conference in Hyannis on Friday but the School Committee, friends and family celebrated the honor with cake after Tuesday's meeting. She is one of only two North Adams committee members honored as life members, the other being John Hockridge in 2017.
"Heather has demonstrated a passion for quality education, and the idea that it is the community's responsibility to provide resources that invest in our children's future," Superintendent Barbara Malkas read from the letter announcing the award. "Additionally, and beyond the School Committee, however, Heather has proven herself to be a community partner in many other ways."
Boulger knew about the award — she'd gotten a letter from MASC a couple weeks ago — but not the local celebration. Her husband, Patrick, had lured her to Brayton School by telling her it was an event for a friend. 
"It was a nice surprise, I'm very overwhelmed, very thankful and appreciative of the nomination," she said.
Boulger, executive director of MassHire, also served for eight years on the McCann School Committee and on the boards of the former Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the state Department of education Community Service Advisory Committee, the 1Berkshire Economic Development Council, the Berkshire Council for Growth, Childcare of the Bekrshires, Junior Achievement and the Business and Professional Women's Association. She most recently was named to the Council on Aging.
During her six, four-year terms, Boulger worked with three mayors and three superintendents — Joseph Rogge, James Montepare and Malkas — and served on every subcommittee but one. She left the committee last year as its longest serving member and who had been vice chair "as long as anyone can remember." 
One of the mayors she worked with, Richard Alcombright, nominated her for the award. 
"The lifetime achievement award for you, Heather, can be for your School Committee work," said Alcombright, elected to the committee last fall. "But it could also be an lifetime achievement for all your work with in the greater Berkshire region and all the committees that you served on. ... 
 "It can also be a lifetime achievement award for being a wonderful colleague ...  It can also be a lifetime achievement award, Heather, for being a wonderful neighbor."
Alcombright said Boulger, who lives on the same street as he, often drops by with cookies.  He said the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, referring to her parents Donna and Herbert Putnam, saying their daughter is "a wonderful credit to the community."
Boulger was congratulated by former committee colleagues William Schrade Jr. and, through Malkas, by Hockridge, who was unable to attend, state Rep. John Barrett III, mayor when she was first elected to the committee in 1998.
Donna Putnam, who attended the gathering, said her daughter "was in charge" since kindergarten, recalling how she insisted her mother come into the classroom so she could explain it all to her. 
"She took care of the other students," Putnam said. "Her thinking is that we could do with a little more kindness."

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BAAMS Celebrates Three Years With Benefit Concert

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

Founder Richard Boulger is a North Adams native. 
ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshires' Academy for Advanced Musical Studies (BAAMS) marked three years with a concert featuring the academy's faculty.
Hundreds attend the benefit concert that was held Friday, May 26, at the Adams Theater.
"We at BAAMS are truly grateful and inspired as we celebrate tonight, at the opening night of the Adams Theatre our Third Year Anniversary Celebration of being able to continue to work with young musicians throughout Berkshire County," said founder and Creative Director Richard Boulger.
The nonprofit came into existence in 2019 when Boulger, a professional jazz trumpet player and North Adams native, brought a lineup of world-class jazz musicians to teach in the academy. 
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