Well-loved educator Barrett recalled for lives she touched

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Annually, the graduating senior ladies of Frontier Regional Faculty would stroll throughout the road to affix Principal Martha “Marti” Barrett for a conventional tea time at her residence.

“She used to ask the graduating ladies to her home for what we referred to as the ‘senior tea,’ the place she would train them the traditions of an outdated tea time — I don’t know what you’ll name that,” recalled present Frontier and Union 38 Superintendent Darius Modestow with amusing. “They might go over there of their large hats and blouses and have enjoyable with an outdated customized.”

Barrett, a longtime principal at Sunderland Elementary Faculty and Frontier Regional Faculty, in addition to Frontier superintendent, died Jan. 4, from issues of power obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD) and pneumonia. She was 71 years outdated.

Within the wake of her dying, tributes from across the neighborhood and the varsity district have been pouring in for an individual who made an influence on numerous college students passing by her faculties, which Steve Barrett, her husband of 46 years, stated has made issues simpler.

“I spent 4 hours listening to folks inform me tales about my spouse that I had by no means heard earlier than. It’s fairly heartwarming to listen to concerning the lives she touched,” Barrett stated final week after a morning service for his spouse. “It made a really tough time a bit simpler. She did lots for this neighborhood, and the neighborhood has returned that favor in spades the final couple of days.”

After working as assistant director of admissions for 5 years at Suffolk College, Barrett started her Frontier and Union 38 profession as an alternative instructor at Deerfield Elementary Faculty in 1986. She served as interim principal there for a 12 months from 1988 to 1989 earlier than serving in the identical position at Sunderland Elementary Faculty, based on her obituary.

After spending a couple of years in Sunderland, Barrett labored at a personal enterprise earlier than coming again to schooling as Newton Faculty principal in Greenfield. She then returned to Sunderland and took on a co-principal position at Frontier in 2002. She was then named principal after Don Skroski retired and she or he served in that position till 2013, when she grew to become Frontier and Union 38 superintendent. She was superintendent till her retirement in 2016, capping off what Steve Barrett referred to as a “fairly candy profession arc.”

All through her profession, Marti Barrett was devoted to making sure her faculty’s workers was doing its finest work in educating the scholars. Alison Walters, social research division chair who has labored at Frontier since 1998, stated Barrett “modified the surroundings” of Frontier when she got here on board in 2002 by making a “supportive and caring neighborhood for each workers and college students.”

Together with making a optimistic faculty tradition, Walters stated Barrett introduced out the very best in all of her workers. “She meant the world,” Walters stated. “She’s a buddy and I wouldn’t be the instructor I’m with out her in my life.”

Regardless of all of her accomplishments, Steve Barrett stated, Marti by no means made it about herself. “She was by no means one to brag on herself and she or he by no means cared who bought the credit score,” Steve Barrett stated. “She by no means cared who drove the bus, so long as the bus took them to the place they wanted to go.”

Modestow stated Marti Barrett was a mentor to him and quite a few different directors all through his years as assistant principal and principal.

“She was simply a tremendous one that all the time made it concerning the children,” Modestow stated earlier than a second of silence finally week’s Faculty Committee assembly, including she set the tone of her faculties as being the “children’ constructing. It was all the time about that.”

“She was an administrator that immersed herself within the faculty neighborhood and into the lives of the scholars,” Modestow added in a follow-up interview. “She could be seen at each faculty occasion from the humanities productions to athletic occasions. I don’t suppose she ever missed a soccer recreation.”

In her personal phrases, Barrett stated her presence within the faculty and college students’ lives got here naturally.

“I referred to as it management by strolling round. And I didn’t suppose it was revolutionary,” Barrett stated in a 2016 Greenfield Recorder article about her retirement. “But it surely was. No (superintendent) ever walked round.”

Steve Barrett stated the senior tea time was a practice that simply kind of began up one 12 months and ultimately was a well-loved celebration of the senior ladies.

“They might dress up and sit round the home. … It was a riot,” Steve Barrett recalled. “I coached tennis at Frontier, so I might see all the tennis children in a distinct mild. And, after all, she put me to work.”

At a current Choose Board assembly in Sunderland, longtime member Tom Fydenkevez shared tales of academics’ contract negotiations and the way simply they flowed with Barrett on the helm due to her dedication to making sure her college students — her kids — have been the highest precedence.

“What was the proper factor with Marti? She all the time put her kids first,” Fydenkevez stated. “All of us knew that, so it was very straightforward to have a contract negotiation when Marti Barrett was right here.”

Fydenkevez, like many across the Frontier and Union 38 neighborhood, provided his condolences for Barrett and mirrored on “her legacy that she’s left on our kids and our cities.”

“Marti made an influence on all of us that bought to know her. … She was educating me life classes once I was in my 50s,” Fydenkevez stated. “I’m simply amazed that somebody might do little issues that meant a lot daily.”

Marti and Steve Barrett have been collectively for 48 years and have been married for 46. They’ve 4 kids and 14 grandchildren.

“I’m a remarkably fortunate individual to have spent 48 years between realizing her and marrying her,” Steve Barrett stated. “Not many individuals get that present in life and that is actually what I felt I had along with her.”

Donations in Barrett’s reminiscence could also be made to the Meals Financial institution of Western Massachusetts, the Stephen and Martha Scholarship at Frontier or to a charity of 1’s selection.