A Farewell to a Master Teacher

After only 37 years on the job, Mr. Thomas Perry is retiring from his post as a social studies teacher at Millburn Middle School. Words cannot express how much he will be missed by students, teachers, and parents in our school community.

When I arrived at MMS sixteen years ago, I was placed on an eighth grade team with Mr. Perry. I had never worked on a team before, so the experience of working with him and other teachers who all shared the same group of students was reassuring and exciting. During our time together we undertook several interdisciplinary projects to fuse social studies with language arts. I came to know him as an avid reader who is most knowledgeable in his study of cultures. His enthusiasm for his students and his subject has never waned in his career. In fact, many of our colleagues have commented on how Mr. Perry approaches teaching with new eyes each day. He is creative in his instructional presentation, and he has influenced generations of students with his style and sense of humor.

Mr. Perry’s multi-sensory approach to teaching and his active engagement of learners has enabled students to acquire depth of information and become critical thinkers. His reading recommendations and research suggestions have provided stimulation and enrichment for countless students. Most of all, students have loved learning with Mr. Perry. Another memorable aspect of the “Mr. Perry experience” would be seeing him in action at the team fundraiser known as “the auction.” Students donated games, stuffed animals and other objects with age-level appeal which would be auctioned to raise funds to purchase holiday gifts for children. Mr. Perry always played the part of auctioneer and made the experience a great deal of fun. Though his voice was always hoarse by the end of the day, he was never too tired to think of having another auction. This experience was often followed by the pig-out, an orgy of desserts donated by students who purchased a platter for one dollar.

Mr. Perry is a positive and professional colleague who has dedicated his life to the teaching profession here in Millburn. Although we do not want to say good-bye, we are grateful for the gifts he has shared with all of us.

Thank you, Mr. Perry! Happy Retirement!

June 2003

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