One of the hardest-working people in local education is finally retiring.
Barbara O. Greene, Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services director of finance, will pack up more than 35 years of service to BOCES and Belleville Henderson Central School this evening.
Mrs. Greene spent six years with BOCES but worked at Belleville Henderson since before the districts merger took place in 1984.
I hired Barb Greene in the 70s, former Belleville Central Administrative Assistant Menzer L. Doud said. One of the smartest moves I ever made.
He said her hiring was a part of a federal initiative to hire unemployed teachers to work for the district. Mrs. Greene, who went to college to become a math teacher, was a teachers aide until she made the jump to district clerk. After the schools merged and a new building was constructed, she was bumped to district business manager.
Mr. Doud left the district to pursue other career opportunities in 1979, but had other opportunities to work with her when he filled in as Belleville Hendersons interim superintendent in 1991 and 1995.
She was a wonderful employee, he said. Cared for the district more than her own needs, you know what I mean?
Mrs. Greene recalled processing the payroll during the blizzard of 1977. As soon as a plow truck cleared a single lane in the road, she raced back to the school to turn in the paperwork so employees would receive their paychecks on time.
She is also happy with the way the district merger turned out for the students.
That was the highlight of my career, she said. It definitely was a team effort. I was a part of the team that formed the new school.
After 30 years at Belleville Henderson, she was chosen as BOCES director of finance in August 2006.
I was looking for an adventure and a challenge, she said. I did (get that) and the bonus of meeting a whole new group of people and the opportunity to work with some outstanding employees at BOCES.
She was hesitant to mention her 10-hour workdays in addition to the number of hours she spent reading up on new education initiatives and technology when she came home each night.
Her work ethic speaks for itself, former Belleville Henderson foreign language teacher Carl A. Bingle said. Thats why BOCES snapped her up as soon as they could.
Mr. Bingle had known her since he was hired in 1975 and eventually became her brother-in-law.
As the National Honor Society adviser, he remembered her helping him with National Honor Society bookkeeping duties. He said she would just take it home to finish sometimes and did not expect anything in return for the extra work.
She did her job with no fanfare, he said. She was always behind the scenes but fully capable. The support was there and unquestioning.
When she was not being treated to happy retirement lunches this week, she spent her last few days wrapping up loose ends in the office and meeting with her replacement, General Brown Central School District Business Administrator Michele A. Traynor.
Mrs. Greene said she was concerned about going from 50-plus-hour workweeks to having the rest of her life free. However, shes come to embrace having a loose schedule.
Im going to enjoy some grandchildren, she said.
Mrs. Greene has three grandchildren and another due any day. When shes not visiting family, she plans to take the train all over the country with her husband, Dwight. She reminisced about the magnolia blossoms in Williamsburg, Va., she saw when she was younger and said she hoped she could see them again.
Tremendously strong work ethic, said Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Jack J. Boak Jr. Always in the office early and stays late. We will miss her very much. We wish her the best in her retirement.