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July, 2015 MethuenLife Krusell, continued from page 7 Colleagues tout 'the Krusell Way' toward journalism. Later, I would have her again at Methu...

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July, 2015

MethuenLife

Krusell, continued from page 7

Colleagues tout 'the Krusell Way'

toward journalism. Later, I would have her again at Methuen High. By now she was married and had a new last name. Again, she encouraged me to work at my writing, assigning frequent essays and longer papers," Whipple recalled. "In all the years I have known her, I have never heard Ann Marie utter anything except positive, upbeat reports about Methuen High and the thousands of students she has encouraged and guided. She has been a top-notch ambassador for the school. I'm pleased that she was such a fine teacher, administrator and friend."

An educator evolves

Krusell credits her seventh-grade teacher -- Elaine Crane -- with having a huge influence over how her educational career evolved. "She was my teacher and then became my mentor and friend. From her, I learned how to become organized, approachable, versatile, gentle and meticulous," Krusell said. Krusell said she got her indefatigable drive to improve herself professionally from her parents, Pat and Connie (Turrisi) Pizzano. "My dad worked up until he was 82 years old and ended his career as a state building inspector. He had police powers. He was a police officer in Methuen for 12 years," Krusell said. "He was the deputy boxing commissioner at 82. My father shut down the Marvin Hagler fight." Her father also was the originator of the first semi-pro baseball and football teams in Methuen. "I definitely got my work ethic from him and my mother. She had to quit school in the eighth grade after her father went blind," Krusell said. Mrs. Pizzano worked 44 years as an inspector for Tire Rubber, which later became

Retiring Methuen High English Department Chairwoman Ann Marie (Pizzano) Krusell is shown in her own Methuen High yearbook, where she and Dave Salach were recognized as the students who had Done Most for the School. They came up with this spoof, as she was class vice president and he was president - both very active in school activities. Courtesy photo

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By Mark E. Vogler MethuenLife Writer

Krusell holds a sign given to her by a 2004 MHS grad Farrah Derderian who works as a fashion designer.

Converse. The work ethic of Krusell - married to Peter and mom to ’08 MHS grad Alison Marie who is now pursuing an MBA meant long hours dedicated to the students of Methuen. A fraction of her extra-curricular activities include yearbook adviser, senior class play adviser, graduation adviser, Methuen Scholarship Foundation, emcee for original “Mr. Methuen” competition and all Milli Vanilli shows, and SAT and PSAT tutor. She has chaperoned every Senior Class Prom since she’s been at Methuen High.

The next chapter

Krusell may be retired from Methuen Public Schools, but not from education, she insists. She is considering a possible new career as an educational consultant. "I still feel like I have something to offer," said Krusell, who continued to be the first educator to arrive at Methuen High before 7 am on most school days during her final months, greeting substitute teachers as they arrived at the main office. She literally wrote the handbook that MHS substitutes use. "I love teaching. I feel as enthusiastic today as I did in 1975. None of that has waned. I just love kids. To me, it's always been about the kids," she said. "Every teacher's dream is to make a difference and, that way, touch tomorrow. And I think I've accomplished that through my students." As a department head, she took on new administrative responsibilities that shifted from her first love: classroom teaching. "When I took the position of English coordinator, I demanded that I keep a class. I kept a class from 2003 to 2010," Krusell said. "I would go through walkthroughs daily in teacher classrooms. I never really left the classroom. ... It's kind of funny. I began my career as a teacher and ended it this year as a teacher. I have no regrets. I don't think there's anything I would have changed."

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On a morning in mid-May, a veteran educator walks into a classroom on short notice as a substitute teacher and gives the students something they can talk about for the rest of the school year. It's an English class. But Ann Marie Krusell uses the music and lyrics of "Revolution," a popular Beatles song of the ’60s, to help her class understand the turbulent and rebellious times that led to the writing of Ken Kesey's novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." As the music blares from the front of the room, a large television screen flashes photos of the music group that led the so-called British Invasion in rock and pop music of the mid-’60s. There's also a trivia quiz of people, places and dates that Krusell prepared for the students. She encourages them to use their iPads to research and bring to life the era that only the students' grandparents and people of Krusell's generation had lived. Krusell later walks out of the room, her face beaming with a huge smile, thrilled that she's gotten the students to understand the meaning and context of the book. Current events of the day are all fair game for discussion. "The best way to keep students interested is to plan at least three different activities," Krusell said later. "My mantra with my staff: If you lead with your heart, the head follows. You get the kids first with your heart, and then you can instruct them." Jeff Bellistri, an English teacher, who has worked 13 years at Methuen High under Krusell, said he marvels at her approach to education and her talent for bringing the lesson alive. "She lights up when she's teaching," Bellistri said. "She was born to teach. She walks the walk. I have never been around an administrator who better understood my role as a classroom teacher -- because

she's done it before. She's taught kids at the lowest level and at the highest level -- the hardest classes." "I never met a student who had a bad thing to say about Ann Marie Krusell,” Bellistri continues. “She was just as effective with kids who have graduated from here who are going to Harvard as kids going right to work with no secondary education in their plans." Ethnicity, background or age don’t matter, according to Bellistri. "She found a way to connect with every kid. The secret to her success? Being compassionate. She puts people first," he said. Vanessa Guthrie, who's taught English at Methuen High for 11 years, credited Krusell with revitalizing her career: "I can see the teacher I want to be through her. She’s always had an open door. She knows how to make it better. She has ideas on how to improve your craft. I'm just going to miss her. She has the biggest heart. She's just a fantastic woman. She can reach any kid." Bud Jennings, an English teacher who has worked with Krusell for about 20 years, calls her "special." "She really does embody what is the most mysterious and beautiful about literature and art, understanding that she reads between the lines when it comes to kids, schools and state educational organizations and teacher concerns about grades, numbers and benchmarks," Jennings said. "Ann Marie acknowledges the importance of all that. But the real art in her approach is that when she looks at a kid, she can see what's not on the page. If she doesn't see or understand something, she investigates -- and concretely," he said. "That means when she sees a kid that's not smiling, she finds out why. If she sees a kid in class who is isolated and not talking to others, she finds out why. To say her approach is holistic, that would begin to explain. But that word is simplistic."

THE TEACHERS’ TEACHER More than a dozen current Methuen High staffers were first students of Ann Marie Krusell. They include: • Caitlin Canane, science teacher. • Tracey Ramshaw, Spanish teacher. • Tony Curet, associate principal. • Lisa Golobski-Twomey, Krusell's replacement as English Department head.

• Stephanie Chaisson, social studies teacher. • Jim Mellor, school service officer. • Jeff Osgood, director of PE and FCS. • Johanna Faucett, ELL coach. • Tracy McNichols, Spanish teacher. • Sarah Boyd, science teacher. • Matt Howshan, Alpha teacher. • Theresa Falco, secretary. • Erica Comeau, math teacher.

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Methuen go-getters lauded by UMass Several outstanding students from Methuen were honored at UMass Lowell’s commencement in May. Arnaldo and Hector Rivera achieved a piece of their American dream when they received their diplomas in May. Identical twins coping with lupus since childhood, the 28-year-old brothers have battled through medical setbacks associated with the disease to become first-generation college graduates with bachelor's degrees. It wasn't easy. They initially enrolled at UMass Lowell in 2005, but Arnaldo developed renal failure and had to withdraw. Hector soon followed suit, as he did not feel right about pursuing his education without his brother beside him. The brothers earned associate's degrees at Northern Essex Community College in 2011 and the pair returned to UMass Lowell in 2013 - after Hector recovered from renal failure and pneumonia - to study psychology, excelling both in and out the classroom. Fellow students in their rigorous statistics class can thank them for organizing a homework study group that helped participants pull together to conquer the difficult material. That experience may have inspired them to launch a homework center for students in Lawrence. For that venture - which they hope will become a nonprofit agency - the brothers won honorable mention and $1,500 in seed money from the university's DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge this spring. The annual contest is part of the DifferenceMaker program, which pairs UMass Lowell students with faculty mentors who teach them to think like entrepreneurs to tackle business and community needs. Last fall, the twins traveled to Spain to teach English to secondary students and adults as part of UMass Lowell's study abroad program. Their hard work at the university has earned them national recognition as inductees in collegiate honor societies that recognize outstanding transfer students, psychology students and student leaders. Of the nearly 3,800 seniors who graduated in UMass Lowell's Class of 2015, Hector was

UMass Lowell grads and brothers Arnaldo and Hector Rivera of Methuen won $1,500 in seed money and honorable mention in UMass Lowell's 2015 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge for their plan to start a homework center for students in Lawrence. Shown are (from left) Steven Tello, UMass Lowell's associate vice chancellor of entrepreneurship and economic development; Arnaldo and Hector Rivera; and Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. Photo courtesy of Tory Germann for UMass Lowell

one of six to receive a Chancellor's Medal for Community Service. Hector and Arnaldo will pursue master's degrees in education at UMass Lowell in the fall. Kevin Desjardins believes civil engineering can transform people’s lives. A native of Quebec who became an American citizen in 2014, he coordinated engineering activities and contests for middle-schoolers at the Lawrence Family Development Charter School and taught robotics to fourth-graders at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence through the Latino STEM Alliance, a nonprofit that brings science, technology, engineering and mathematics educa-

tion to children throughout Massachusetts. Not satisfied to merely teach engineering concepts, Desjardins puts them to work to improve the lives of people in developing nations. As a founding member of the Civil Engineers for Change Club at the university, he helped students in a UMass Lowell service-learning program work with industry mentors and community partners to design and build infrastructure in foreign countries. Through this initiative, Desjardins was among a team of students who went to Haiti in January to lay the groundwork for building an industrial plant there. The 21-year-old, who received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering, was also one of six seniors from a class of nearly 3,800 to be awarded a University Medal for Community Service. He will pursue a master's degree in civil engineering at UMass Lowell in the fall, with an eye toward one day working with developing countries to build water-distribution infrastructure. Rachel Saunders, 22, says UMass Lowell ignited in her a passion for community service to help others as she was helped by the university when she needed it most - before she had even arrived on campus. Saunders' senior year of high school became clouded by tragedy that spring when she found herself at her father's funeral just as her classmates were preparing to move on to college. Suddenly unclear about whether she would be able to continue her education, Saunders worked closely with the team at UMass Lowell, which helped her through the enrollment process and made sure she knew she had a spot in the freshman class waiting for her whenever she was ready. She made the most of it. At commencement events honoring the Class of 2015, Saunders was awarded a University Medal for Community Service for her many contributions. A political science major, she completed more than 300 hours as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Jumpstart program, helping Lowell preschoolers get the resources and literacy skills they need to be successful students. She also gave her time to the American Cancer Society, raising money for the organization during its Relay for Life events held on campus. Still other volunteer pursuits helped her identify her career goals, as Saunders completed a semester-long internship in international affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., through UMass Lowell's affiliation with the Washington Center for Academic Partnerships and Seminars. That experience, combined with her work in UMass Lowell's Center for Terrorism and Security Studies, helped cement her decision pursue a law degree to one day become a prosecutor. Brandon Smith was an Army specialist driving through a tunnel as part of a security convoy in Iraq in 2004 when three IED See UMASS, Page 23

Rachel Saunders of Methuen received a University Medal for Community Service from UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. Saunders, who graduated from the university the next day with a degree in political science, plans to pursue a career in the legal field. Photo courtesy of Tory Germann for UMass Lowell

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July, 2015

Dr. Shirley Forrest Callan Methuen Adult Learning Center

25 years of educating those seeking a new start The Dr. Shirley Forrest Callan Methuen Adult Learning Center celebrated its students' achievements during its 25th annual Closing Ceremony at Nevins Memorial Library on June 10. The program provides Adult Basic Education classes, including English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and preparation for the HiSET, the standardized test that Massachusetts uses to grant the high school equivalency credential. The audience was greeted by warm and inspiring addresses from Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni, Superintendent of Schools Judith Scannell and state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell. This year's students represented 27 different countries and one U.S. territory including Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Pa-

Israa Ahmad, Yudelka Hiraldo and Ruth Garcia.

MALC teachers Cathy O’Keefe and Johnetta Hudson with City Councilor Jim Jajuga.

kistan, Palestine, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United States and Vietnam. Of these countries, 17 different languages were spoken by this year's student body. More than half of the students served were parents of preschool and school-age children in Methuen Public Schools, demonstrating to their families an important lesson on the value of lifelong learning, noted Susan M. Prior, supervisor of Adult Basic Education. In addition to developing their language learning and HiSET preparation skills, many of this year's students engaged in community service activities, including serving on the program's Advisory Board and Student Leadership Team and volunteering to provide interpretation services

Celebrating a year of learning are (back row) Janet Urena helping ESOL Level I class speaker Flora Frias put the final touches on her speech, and (front row) Gina Mora, Kethline Theodore and Soon-Woong Eum. Courtesy photos

for the Methuen Public Schools. Adult education students also learned about civic engagement through visits to the Massachusetts Statehouse and Methuen City Hall. The program dates back to February 1999, when then Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Marilyn Harris, was approached by Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board member Barbara Zeimetz with the idea of setting up an adult education program in Methuen. Dr. Harris responded

immediately and hired Dr. Shirley Forrest Callan to get the program started. Through Harris' and Callan's efforts and their dedication to adult education, the program has grown from 10 students housed in a single classroom in 1999 to, this year, serving over 180 students, in 12 different classes, plus a Distance Learning component - so that students can practice their skills online, any See CENTER, Page 29

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