The Heart Of The Center

Jackie Bevere retires as principal of the ELC

Jackie Bevere, who began in the Chelsea school district as a substitute teacher and ascended to the principalship of the John Silber Early Learning Center – a position in which she served for the past 21 years – was honored at a retirement party June 13 in Nahant.

Jackie Bevere (front row, left), principal of the John Silber
Early Learning Center, is pictured at her retirement party
with (front row) her father, Joseph Bevere Sr., and her
sister, Jolene Bevere; her brother, Joseph Bevere Jr. (back
row, right) and his wife, Loreen Bevere; Jay Kilban (Jackie’s
boyfriend), (back row, left).

Fellow Chelsea administrators and colleagues, and associates joined the large assemblage of well-wishers that included Jackie’s father, legendary Chelsea baseball coach and teacher Joseph Bevere Sr., at the tribute.

Former Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque made a beautiful speech about Jackie Bevere’s dedication to the schoolchildren of Chelsea and the professionalism in which she guided the Early Learning Center each day. Former school officials Gerry McCue, Linda Breau, and Tina Sullivan took part in the presentation ceremony. Louise Casey Campanella, a lifelong friend and educator, also offered heartwarming remarks.

‘I loved my job’

Jackie Bevere was a substitute teacher at the old Shurtleff and Williams Schools and Mary C. Burke Complex before becoming  assistant principal of the ELC. She was then promoted to principal at the ELC.

A 1984 graduate of Bridgewater State University with a degree in Communications, Bevere recalled that when she took a part-time position in 1985 as a substitute teacher, it was former Supt. of Schools J. Frank Herlihy who said to her, ‘You better get your certification. You’re good at this.’”

 Bevere earned her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) from Salem State University and later her master’s degree in Administration from the university.

Asked about the immense daily challenges of leading a school with 850 students (pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade) and a staff of 160 people, Bevere said, “I loved my job. I loved the people I worked with. I surrounded myself with the right people.”

Bevere said the responsibilities and goals of her key position changed through the years.

“Like everything else in life, you just have to be flexible and adaptive,” said Bevere. “I had a very good relationship with the parents, and that’s a key to being a successful principal. I worked with 10 different school superintendents.”

An early affinity for education

The daughter of Joseph Bevere and Kay Bevere of Lawrence Street, Jackie recalled her early introduction to the field of education.

“My father being a teacher was always in my ear about it. But when I was a little kid, we used to play ‘School’ on the street. The other kids (a group of friends that included Paulette Connors, Juliann Connors, Robby Connors, Robin Doucette, Lisa Roberts, Lisa Macomber, and the Scarpetti family) would be the teachers and I had to be the principal, so I guess it was meant to be,” said Bevere.

Jackie attended the Carter School (“It burned down when I was in the third grade,” she recalled). “I stayed at the Williams School until I attended the old Chelsea High, which was right behind my house.”

Showing the athleticism that is synonymous with the Bevere name, Jackie became a high school cheerleader as a freshman, the same year she was crowned Miss Chelsea in Joyce Sartorelli’s annual scholarship pageant.

Bevere became a co-captain of the Chelsea High School cheering team (with Maureen Mullaney) in her senior year. The team appeared at football, basketball, and ice hockey games. Her sister, Jolene, was a  teammate and later became a captain of the 1981-82 team. “Jolene has always been very supportive,” said Jackie.

“We cheered for some great athletes back then – Dom LaMarra, Butchie Finnigan, Dave Batchelor,” recalled Jackie.

Of course, Jackie and Jolene also attended their father’s Chelsea High baseball games at Merritt Park. “I remember when Chelsea won, we could go out to dinner,” joked Jackie. “Obviously my father was very happy as a coach, but especially during the 1975 (Eastern Mass.) championship season. It was a great team. The whole season was magic. My brother [Joe Jr.] was the batboy.”

Saying good-bye at the ELC

Jackie Bevere visited the ELC classrooms to personally deliver her farewell to the teachers and students at the ELC in advance of the final day of the school year Monday.

“They actually serenaded me last week, which was cute,” said Bevere. “I’m very lucky.”

Bevere has worked alongside some outstanding professionals at the ELC. “We have some great people working here. Patricia Maronski (Yee) was a paraprofessional here. I kept encouraging her to become a teacher and now she’s an excellent teacher, one of the best we have,” related Bevere. “Denise Mickiewicz (Tiro) is working as a reading specialist at the ELC with me. We’ve known each other since we were five years old.”

Bevere said her goal as principal was “to make sure that our students had an opportunity to succeed in life.”

“I’m grateful for my time in the Chelsea schools,” said Jackie. “I had a good run. You have to love what you do and I loved what I did.”

Tributes from colleagues and friends

As Jackie Bevere winds down her stellar four-decade career in the Chelsea school district, there has been a cascade of praise from colleagues and associates about her professional leadership at the ELC and her commitment to the schoolchildren of Chelsea.

Supt. of Schools Dr. Almi Abeyta said, “Jackie has faithfully served the Chelsea Public Schools for 39 years. She significantly impacted the Early Learning Center (ELC), where her leadership ensured thousands of Chelsea students received exceptional early childhood education. We deeply appreciate her leadership and will miss her at the ELC.”

Louise Casey Campanella, educator and Jackie’s lifelong friend, said, “I never met an educator so dedicated to the students, staff and families of Chelsea. “She always wanted the best for the kids and wanted to provide them with many opportunities to boost their success. Jackie is a true Chelsea girl and one that I have been honored to call a true friend.”

Joseph Bevere Jr. lauds

his sister’s work ethic Chelsea Police Sgt. Joseph Bevere Jr. joined his father, retired Chelsea teacher and coach Joseph Bevere Sr., and his sister, Jolene Bevere, at the retirement celebration for his sister, Jackie. “I’m very proud of her,” said Joseph Jr. “I’m very happy for her. She worked hard her whole career and I think she did a great job. She did something she always wanted to do and was successful at it. She earned her retirement and I wish her the best. I wish her a life of health and happiness.” Joseph Jr. said the retirement party was a well-organized celebration. “It was a great showing at the party,” said Joseph Jr. “Dr. Bourque made a nice speech about Jackie and Jackie made a tremendous speech herself. I was so happy our father got to be there. He retired 32 years ago, and it was great to have him there to honor Jackie on her retirement.”

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