[The following letter was submitted by the staff at the John E. Burke Elementary School.]
To the Editor:
As a staff, we would like to publicly thank our principal, Judy McNiff, for her superior leadership and unwavering support during the extraordinary circumstances our school community has endured during the last two school years.
Our school, the Burke School in Peabody, has undergone major renovations during the school years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. The building has received a new roof, boiler and windows, with the latter very recently being completed. While these were all necessary and make our facility healthier, sound and wonderful, they were all completed during the school years while the building was fully occupied.
Obviously, this was a tremendous stress on children, parents and staff. Mrs. McNiff was the “go-to” person who had the responsibility to manage all of these varied groups, and she did so with patience, respect and grace.
The renovations of the school required that every class move onto the first floor for what turned out to be several months. With classes forced to work out of the gym and cafeteria for a period of time, everyone eating lunch in classrooms, gym classes taking place outside or in classrooms, art, music and health classes taking place in classes with teachers working on carts, no functional library or computer room, and no teacher work room, Mrs. McNiff had her work cut out for her!
She organized, trouble-shot, rearranged, and spent staggering amounts of her own time managing a building that could have fallen into chaos. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, largely because of the leadership of a principal who respected and understood her staff and their needs. Mrs. McNiff responded to problems and concerns daily, and she did so with forethought and consideration of the best interests of the school community. Her consistently honest and open communication was invaluable.
The renovations are complete, and our students are back in their own classrooms. We have all of our resources available to us again, and most importantly, we have our most reliable and positive resource, Judy McNiff.
Staff of the Burke School