Superintendent Praises Retiring Special Education Teacher Hodgkins

By Adam Swift

The school district, especially the high school, will miss special education teacher Maria Hodgkins’ empathy, sympathy, and advocacy when she retires at the end of the school year, according to Superintendent of Schools Lisa Howard.

Howard read Hodgkins’ retirement letter at last week’s School Committee meeting, and offered her own kind words for her long-time friend and fellow educator.

“Composing a letter of retirement is not an easy task, especially when you truly love what you do,” wrote Hodgkins. “It is time to reflect on all the time that has passed with deep appreciation. I will be retiring in June of 2023 after working with the Winthrop Public Schools since 1987.”

Hodgkins stated that she is grateful she’s had the opportunity to work with an outstanding team of administrators and staff.

“Winthrop Public Schools is not only an exemplary school system, it’s a special place that my entire family has graduated from,” she stated. “My parents, my siblings, my children, and if I did the math right, my granddaughter in 2037. For nine years, Winthrop High School has been my second home, and a piece of my heart will always encompass the administration, the amazing S1 staff, and the unforgettable students.”

Howard said Hodgkins truly encompasses everything someone would want to be as an educator and a person.

“She is an incredible special education teacher and more importantly, she’s just a kind human who truly understands students in the most difficult situations that we see in the Winthrop Public Schools in her role,” said Howard. “She has been a lifesaver to the school district in terms of creating a program that has allowed students to be educated in their home school environment. That takes dedication, that takes work, that takes creativity, and I think most importantly, it takes empathy, sympathy, and advocacy for students who could easily be educated in a different environment.”

Howard said she hopes that even though Hodgkins is retiring, she will help mentor the next generation of special education teachers.

“If I had to describe Maria, she makes special education special,” said Howard. “We’ve had a lot of kids who graduated from Winthrop High School in the past several years who I can honestly say without Maria might just not have.”

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