NARRAGANSETT—The halls of Narragansett High School have seen many students come and go, graduating into the adult world and facing challenges that have never before been met. A quiet indebtedness remains, however, when those same students hearken back to the lessons that they received during their high school years. Only then do they often realize that their teachers had influenced them in ways of which they were never aware. NHS will lose two such stalwarts in English teacher Jean Nardone and Guidance Specialist/Social Studies teacher Robert Shuman, who are retiring this year.
“This is a bittersweet time of the school year as we say goodbye to staff,” said Superintendent Katherine Sipala Wednesday evening. “It really is a significant time. All week, the administrators have been saying that they are happy for the retirees, but sad that we are losing people of their commitment and knowledge. It is a huge loss.”
Among other retirees in all of Narragansett’s schools, Nardone and Shuman were recognized for their career-long contributions by the School Committee on Monday evening. NHS Principal Daniel Warner spoke to the importance of the two educators to the students and families at the high school.
“Looking at these two folks, when you walk into a classroom, they are compassionate and knowledgeable, and you know it when you see it,” said Warner. “Retirements are what shake us to the core, but we wouldn’t be where we are at if it wasn’t for people like Jean and Rob.”
“They are quality individuals and have done so much for the town of Narragansett and our students,” he added.
Both Nardone and Shuman began teaching at NHS in 1992. Nardone, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, began her career in the Westerly School System, but settled in Narragansett with her family. Shuman grew up in Narragansett and was educated in its schools before going to college at Fordham University, yet returned on the other side of the fence in order to teach in the community he cared for as a youth.
Nardone and Shuman expressed their gratitude to the Narragansett School System and the administrators with which they have worked over their 20 year careers.
“I am going to miss the students and faculty,” said Nardone. “The school system has given us total freedom to do what we do, and the town has always been supportive. This is a great high school, so it really is bittersweet.”
“It is hard to leave Narragansett,” said Shuman. “With the relationships that are here, we all work hard together for the best of the school in order to make it a really special place. It has been such a blessing for me to attend Narragansett schools and come back to work in the school department.”
Shuman will be returning to Kandern, Germany as Principal of Black Forest Academy, an international boarding school for children of missionaries working throughout the globe.
“I am excited about the opportunity, and anticipating learning and growth there,” said Shuman. “That is where I was this past year, serving as Vice-Principal. Two years ago, I served as a guidance counselor. I am familiar with the students, but it will be a new role.”
Sipala closed the recognition ceremony with a word of hearty thanks for the teachers’ service.
“We will sorely miss the wonderful teachers that are honored tonight,” she said.