No. Smithfield school district says goodbye to longtime administrative assistant

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – She’s seen the district through three superintendents, and more than a few changes to staffing and operations.

But after 27 years working for the North Smithfield School Department, Sherry McGahan has decided to retire.

McGahan was first appointed to the position of instructional aid in kindergarten by the North Smithfield School Committee in September of 1992.

“She worked two and a half hours a day, 12 hours a week, for the generous rate of $8.99 per hour,” noted Asst. Supt. Clare Arnold.

McGahan was recruited to become the North Smithfield Elementary School secretary in 1998, and a few short years later, she was recruited for the job of administrative assistant to the superintendent.

“Sherry has kept the district running smoothly in the face many challenges,” said Arnold at a gathering this week at Bella Restaurant to celebrate the long-time administrator. “There was never an emergency so large that she was not there to handle it, or a detail so small that she overlooked it.”

McGahan speaks with School Committee Chairman James Lombardi.

“Sherry takes pride in her work and this district, and everyone here has benefited from her,” added Arnold. “Sherry is a caretaker.”

But Arnold said it was McGahan’s kindness that has really made her stand out.

“She can take a call from an upset caller and defuse a situation like no other,” Arnold said.

Supt. Michael St. Jean said McGahan was “a role model, and even a mentor,” when he first came to the district in 2016.

“With her deep and personal knowledge of the district and community, combined with her keen intelligence and perception, her advice has been invaluable to not only me, but to every administrator, teacher, and support staff in the district,” said St. Jean.  “Her knowledge of North Smithfield schools, its personnel, policies, procedures, and workings is unparalleled.”

But like Arnold, St. Jean noted that it was McGahan’s warmth and caring for district employees that has been most valued.

“Across decades she knows every person by name, their spouses name, their children’s names, and their major life events,” said St. Jean. “Sherry was at the core of the NSPS family.”

School officials celebrated McGahan during a banquet at Bella Restaurant.

McGahan served as administrative assistant to three superintendents, beginning with Richard Scherza, followed by Stephen Lindberg, ending her career after three years under St. Jean.

Her final day was Friday, Jan. 3.

Arnold wished her friend well as she enters the next phase.

“As you have blessed our lives with your kindness and care, may your retirement be warmed by the love we have for you, which you have so earned over the years,” Arnold said.

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