Adams steps down from ACS amid praise
ADDISON — Addison Central School teacher Carol Adams just wanted to step down quietly after 28 years of teaching there.
But her students, family, current and former colleagues, ACS board members, and many from the Addison community, including former students and parents of students, wouldn’t let her.
On June 5 many flocked to the Middlebury native’s retirement reception at the school and, as well as applauding the gifts she received from fellow teachers and the board, also chuckled at the dozens of turtlenecks hanging on a clothesline that poked fun at Adams’s trademark fashion choice.
Then at the ACS 6th-grade graduation on June 13, students dedicated a portion of the ceremony to Adams and presented a bouquet of flowers to the woman who taught most of them during second grade, and in recent years helped many as a school reading specialist.
“She was really choked up about that,” said ACS Principal Wayne Howe.
Adams only reluctantly agreed to be photographed for a newspaper, or to comment other than say she would spend more time with her husband, Middlebury Union Middle School physical education teacher Don MacIntosh, and their seven grandchildren.
She did provide details on a classic Vermont teaching career path. After attending elementary and high school in her native Middlebury, she then earned her teaching degree at Castleton State College. Adams did her student teaching at Mary Hogan Elementary School, and then substitute taught around the county while raising her children.
When the time was right, Adams went to work full-time at ACS — in 1983. She team-taught many units with Jane Demers, made many batches of brownies for all at the school, and dropped back to half-time in 2000.
Howe was happy to step in and fill in the blanks. To start with, the principal said Adams had a calm center that served her well in her chosen profession.
“She’s just an exceptional person. She just has this exceptional spirit that doesn’t get ruffled, even when she’s been with kids who have had challenges. She just has this nice demeanor,” he said.
At the same time, Howe said Adams was always excited to see her students grow and make progress.
“You know when you have this little 7- or 8-year-old, and they go through this developmental milestone? She personally would be filled with joy for them and spread the word to the rest of the staff. ‘Oh, did you see what he did? He finally got to write a story?’ Or, ‘He wrote his name in cursive.’” he said.
“It was as if she was a parent, not an employee. She was another parent of the kid. And she did that with hundreds of kids over her time here … A lot of kids have very fond memories of her.”
And, Howe said, Adams’ students learned.
“She could really get kids to write, and expand on their writing and be more descriptive in their writing,” he said. “She was a very effective teacher.”
Although Adams wouldn’t discuss what’s in her plans, Howe has an idea that Adams and MacIntosh won’t have a hard time keeping busy.
“Her husband, Don, is really active,” Howe said. “She’s not going to be sitting around in a rocking chair.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]
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