Three longtime local secondary educators to retire

BENNINGTON — Three local secondary educators, with over 80 years of experience among them, will be retiring at the conclusion of this school year.

Mount Anthony Union High School Band Director Marjorie Rooen, MAU Athletic Director Tim Brown, and Southwest Vermont Career Development Center pre-law and forensics instructor Bruce Lee-Clark have all announced to their respective administrators their intent to retire.

"It is with a deep feeling of gratitude, and just a touch of sadness, that I write this letter to inform you that I will be retiring from the teaching faculty of the SVCDC effective June 30, 2018," Lee-Clark wrote in his retirement letter to Superintendent Michael Lawler. "You know that this letter was expected, and that I have been expecting to retire after this academic year. However, I did want to express my thanks for the privilege of teaching the students of the CDC, wherever they are, during the past 22 years. I also want to express my gratitude for your leadership and friendship over many of those years. I feel confident that the CDC is moving in a good direction, and that your leadership has a significant part to play in that confidence. I only hope that I may have played a small part in that development during my time at the CDC."

"I know that I will miss teaching," he concluded, "but there are 'other fields to plow' in the time I have left, and I retire with a confident and hopeful heart."

In addition to teaching at the CDC, Lee-Clark also serves on the Southwest Vermont Supervisory's Union's Policy Drafting Committee. Prior to joining the CDC faculty, Lee-Clark was a practicing New York attorney working for Legal Services of Central New York as the head of the AIDS Law Project. He received his a BA and JD from Syracuse University and an M.Div. from Harvard University.

"To say it is difficult to walk away from a job of which I have been employed for nearly half my life is an understatement," said Brown in a letter to MAU Board Chairman Tim Holbrook. "The challenge of the position and the ever-changing landscape of athletics over the 30 years on the job has made coming to work each day both exhilarating and exciting. But mostly, a labor of love."

"I would be remiss if I did not say how grateful I am for the support of members of the MAU school board over the years," he said, "and the leadership you and past board chairpersons have provided. It is always difficult to walk the tightrope of meeting the financial needs of the school system while respecting the hardship faced by taxpayers. But I have always appreciated the fact that this ground understood and valued the benefits of after-school activities and the needs of students. While I look forward to enjoying my adventures ahead in retirement, I will no doubt miss the challenge of a job I truly enjoyed. To be given this opportunity to serve the MAU community, and to be trusted with this responsibility, is something of which I will always be grateful."

"This is a bittersweet decision for me at this time," said Rooen. "I have been teaching at Mount Anthony for 32 years... I enjoy what I do, and I love seeing the 'light bulbs' go on when the students get it."

Rooen has said she will have course outlines and procedures prepared for the next band director, and has volunteered to be a part of the hiring process. "I plan on staying in the area, as I have been part of the community for 32 years," she said. "I enjoy the town and the people in Bennington. I will be working on other projects in the music industry and will be president of the New England Music Festival Association in March of 2018. This will keep me busy and still in music education where I have studied and trained." Rooen currently serves as the president-elect of that organization, which has organized the New England Music Festival and other performance opportunities for school-age singers, string and wind players and percussionists since 1928.

Derek Carson can be reached at, at @DerekCarsonBB on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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