Jo Anne Sizemore is stepping down at year’s end after a decade as assistant superintendent in Scarborough and more than 40 years in the system. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

SCARBOROUGH — Members of the school district thanked Assistant Superintendent Jo Anne Sizemore for her time at Scarborough schools during her last board meeting on Dec. 19.

Sizemore, who has served as assistant superintendent since 2009, said that it was with mixed emotions that she decided to retire at the end of December.

“I’ve had an absolutely wonderful career and feel very lucky to have worked in a place where going to work was inspiring, fun and no two days were ever the same,” she said.

School Board Chair Leanne Kazilionis presented Sizemore with a parting gift, a piece of art, created by a former Scarborough student.

“Today marks Jo Anne’s final board meeting and is met with mixed emotions in saying goodbye to her,” said Kazilionis. “Jo Anne has been a part of Scarborough schools for 42 years, first as a teacher at the junior high school, then as the much-loved and equally much-feared middle school principal. And finally as assistant superintendent for the last 10 years. In addition to all this, she’s also served as interim superintendent on more than one occasion. Jo Anne has done it all with grace, commitment to excellence and dedication for her craft. She has been dedicated to improvements throughout the district and Jo Anne is always willing to share her knowledge with teachers who strive to become future administrators themselves. She’s shown tireless support of our staff at every opportunity.”

Kazilionis added that Sizemore’s wisdom and experience has been invaluable to the school board, especially when  the board was hiring a new assistant superintendent earlier in the year.

Jo Anne Sizemore of Scarborough accepts an award for Maine Assistant Superintendent of the year in 2018. Courtesy Scarborough Public Schools

Former coworkers and board members also thanked Sizemore, noting that her retirement will be a great loss for the district.

“You put our school district ahead of yourself for many years, and so I’m thrilled for you, but I know it’s a huge loss for our community, not only for all that you do and all of the stories that have been shared, but the historical knowledge and expertise about Scarborough,” said Jodi Shea, former vice-chair of the board.

Jacquelyn Perry, former Scarborough School Board member, said that her first experience with Sizemore showed Perry what a wonderful leader she was.

When Sizemore was principal of the middle school, Perry said she remembered finding her with a group of middle school boys, cleaning lockers, right before a scheduled meeting.

“So we went into [Sizemore’s] office and I said, ‘What’s going on?'” said Perry. “She said, ‘Well they kind of marked up the lockers, and they needed to be cleaned.’ And I said, ‘Why are you there?’ She said, ‘I’m teaching them how to do it. You can’t just tell middle school children to go clean those lockers. You have to show them how to do it, and you have to show them by being there, that it’s what they did that is wrong. They’re not wrong. They’re not bad children.’ That shows me who Jo Anne is, and why she’s been such a great educational leader.”

Kelly Murphy, a Scarborough resident, former student of Sizemore’s and former school board member, said that nobody is as experienced in education as Sizemore.

“I first met Jo Anne in 1988, when she was my math teacher,” said Murphy. “We were all a little terrified because the principal was about to be our teacher. And it was not my favorite class, but it ended up being my favorite class that year. We learned useful skills about the stock market. We had to write letters to boards of directors of public companies to get their annual reports and then buy stocks and follow them in the newspaper every day and track them. It was actually one of the most useful classes I ever took, and that was in eighth grade.”

Murphy then recalled a time, after she’d had children, when Wentworth School was “falling apart.”

“I went to a meeting of angry parents, and there was Mrs. Sizemore trying to chill everybody out as the interim superintendent,” she said. “We spent thousands of hours together on the building committee and when I was later on the school board. It took me five years to call her Jo Anne and not Mrs. Sizemore, and it still feels wrong. Nobody knows more about the ins and outs of education in Scarborough than Jo Anne, and she’ll be terribly missed and this room’s going to look weird without you.”

Sizemore thanked the school district for giving her a fun retirement party, and she said that her last week of work was difficult, as she has many great memories in the district.

“So I wish all of you the best of happiness, success and good health, and be happy,” she said to the board and community. “Work does become part of your life and will create many good memories for you. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of the Scarborough school community. Thank you very much.”

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