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Teacher bids farewell after 28 years at school

McClure retires from Pierce School to spend time with granddaughter

  • A class photo from Chris McClure’s first class at Pierce School. Throughout her tenure, McClure taught first and fourth grade, although she spent much of her time in second grade.  COURTESY PHOTO

  • Chris McClure is surrounded by students from her second grade class in a group hug.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Chris McClure poses for a photo with her last second grade class at Pierce School in Bennington. McClure is retiring after 28 years with the school.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Chris McClure is surrounded by students from her second grade class in a group hug.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Chris McClure is surrounded by students from her second grade class in a group hug.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Chris McClure poses for a photo with her last second grade class at Pierce School in Bennington. McClure is retiring after 28 years with the school.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Chris McClure is surrounded by students from her second grade class in a group hug.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Chris McClure is surrounded by students from her second grade class in a group hug.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Every fall since she was 5, Chris McClure has been excited for the new school year to begin. But after nearly 30 years of teaching, McClure will have to find a new source of enthusiasm when the leaves begin to change.

After 28 years of teaching at Pierce School in Bennington, McClure has chosen to retire to spend more time with family, most notably her 2-year-old granddaughter who lives in Atlanta. While it was by no means an easy decision for McClure to make, she admits that it’s time to move on to the next phase.

“This place will always hold a special place in my heart, but I want to be a larger part of my granddaughter’s life,” said McClure. “Every time I go out to visit her, it gets harder and harder to leave. I realized that I need to be there more.”

There is a reception planned for McClure in the Pierce School Library on June 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. Members of the community are invited to attend.

McClure, who is originally from Long Island, New York, went to college at Keene State College, and did her student teaching in the ConVal School District. After enjoying her experience as a student teacher, McClure jumped at the chance to teach in Bennington and never left.

“I had such a great time student teaching that I knew this was the district I wanted to work in,” said McClure, who moved to Bennington in 1980 with her husband. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

Throughout her 28 years at Pierce, McClure has taught first and fourth grade, although much of her time has been devoted to second grade.

“I had experience teaching at both ends of the spectrum, but I loved the age group in second grade,” said McClure. “The kids were great and so excited to learn.”

One of the more special moments of her career, according to McClure, was being able to have siblings, cousins, and even sons and daughters of people she had already taught in the past. Additionally, McClure said some students had returned to her class to do some volunteering and student teaching of their own.

“She definitely inspired me to teach,” said Anna Cronin, a member of McClure’s 1993 first grade class. “The lessons she taught me have stuck with me to this day.”

Cronin said that McClure was her favorite teacher growing up, because she made each student feel special. Cronin can still remember her first day of first grade, when McClure helped her overcome some nervousness.

“She walked up to me and told me that I’d have a great day and a great year,” said Cronin. “Her kindness was something that really stuck with me.”

McClure may have inspired some of her students, but her lasting impact was also felt among current and former colleagues.

Administrative Assistant Penny Welch, who has worked with McClure for seven years, said McClure is “kindness personified,” and that she “gives students the tools to make good choices.” Joyce Chiulli, who worked with McClure for 25 years before she retired, said that McClure is “one of the sweetest, kindest, most loving and caring people” she has ever met.

“After I retired, I volunteered in Chris’s classroom and saw the joy of learning in her students’s eyes,” said Chiulli. “It was always evident how much Chris enjoyed teaching and how much she loved her students, and you could always see how much they loved her back.”

Despite retiring from her “second home,” McClure admits that she will never be able to truly detach herself from the school. Whether its helping with the craft fair, field trips, or anything else, McClure said she will help in any way she can.

“This place has become such a big part of my heart,” said McClure, after wiping a tear from her face. “It’s really hard to leave a place that I love so much, but I know that this is the right decision for me.”