Talbot Community School literacy interventionists Maureen Lovejoy and Jennifer Rogers are retiring at the end of the school year after lengthy careers in the Portland Public School system. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Forty-five years after taking a teaching job at the then brand new Riverton Elementary School, Maureen Lovejoy is retiring, one of more than 35 Portland Public Schools employees retiring as this school year comes to a close.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s become home,” said Lovejoy, who started teaching at the former Reed School on Homestead Avenue and moved to Riverton, now called Talbot Community School, the year the school opened in 1976.

Lovejoy and Jennifer Rogers, both literacy interventionists at Talbot, are among this year’s retirees who together have given close to 1,000 years of service to schools. Rogers started her Portland teaching career in 1981 as at the former Jack Elementary School (now the site of East End Community School) and joined the Talbot staff in 2000.

Principal Ann Hanna said Talbot Community School will feel much different without Lovejoy and Rogers.

Lovejoy, who worked with students in grades 3-5, will be missed for her can-do spirit, lively personality, creative energy and witty sense of humor, Hanna said at a virtual retirement ceremony this month.

“Every staff member would agree the No. 1 thing we know about Maureen is she cares deeply about students,” Hanna said. “Maureen’s ability to build relationships with students was at the heart of whatever she did at Talbot, and she has a way of making connections with students who need it the most. She has been a dedicated and hard working educator who consistently puts students’ needs above anything else.”

Rogers, who worked with K-2 students, brought to the job “kindness, patience, calmness and a deep understanding of children’s reading development,” Hanna said.

“Jen has been the ultimate professional educator and has done an outstanding job supporting many students in their reading progress and in their discovery of the joy that comes from reading books,” she said.

Rogers said the school is “an unbelievable community.”

“The students, the family and staff are amazing. Everyone works so well together,” she said. “It’s not just the teachers. It’s also the bus drivers, custodians and other staff. They say it takes a village (to raise a child). It really does.”

Lovejoy said she has been impressed by everyone’s ability to adapt to teaching and learning during the pandemic.

“The children made so much growth this year. They are so resilient,” she said.

Portland Board of Education member Roberto Rodriguez said the legacies of Lovejoy, Rogers and the other retirees will have a lasting impact.

“You have so many peers you’ve touched and students you’ve impacted in your careers,” he told the retirees. “You have shaped Portland Public Schools throughout the years. We are an amazing school district because of you.”

Superintendent Xavier Botana said the retirees, which included teachers, custodians, secretaries, education technicians, social workers and other school staff, have all done their part to “make a difference in the lives of our students.”

“This is always a bittersweet event as we combine our gratitude for your years of contributions with the realization that as you leave, we are losing a wealth of knowledge, expertise and commitment,” he said.

Lovejoy and Rogers aren’t planning to leave education completely. Rogers said she will volunteer in the classroom of her daughter, who teaches kindergarten in Windham, and Lovejoy said she is interested in substitute teaching in Portland.

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