Retirement of veteran teachers brings changes to the tempo


Claire Lewin, Associate Managing Editor

As the day of graduation dawns and seniors get ready to throw their hats in the air and kiss high school goodbye, more vehicles will give up their prized Staples parking stickers than just those of Staples students. The end of the year brings about change for both students and faculty, as many teachers and administrators choose to retire.

Math department chair Frank Corbo will be one of the many leaving Staples come the end of this year. And after 41 years of working in Westport, 38 of which have been at Staples, Corbo’s choice to retire was not an easy one.

“I am still conflicted about it,” Corbo said. “I will miss everything about Staples, and I will miss my colleagues forever. But I realized that I will still be conflicted about it next year, and in five years, and in ten years, and there is still so much that I want to do.”

And after such a long run in Westport, Corbo will surely be missed, especially by the math department where he worked.

“Everyone loved him, and everyone admired him,” math teacher Robin Hurlbut said. “Mr. Corbo is legendary. You don’t even need to mention his last name. He’s Frank. He’s just such a huge force. Anything he says, you listen.”

Corbo plans to spend his retirement both in Florida and in Westport. He is eager to vacation not on a school schedule, become a cook, and learn other languages.

Along with Corbo, Staples psychologist of 28 years Carol Taney is choosing to retire at the end of this year to pursue a life a travel and adventure.

“I’ll be doing a lot of traveling,” Taney said. “Italy in October, Hawaii in the spring, and then who knows. It’s a whole new world.”

Like Corbo, Taney found that the choice to retire was not completely clear.

“I have been thinking about it  vaguely for a year or so,” Taney said. “You always have mixed feelings about these things because you are leaving something you love.”

K-12 music supervisor and Music Department Chair David Winer is another faculty member who will be retiring, after seven years at Staples. However, while most plan their retirements around beach schedules and plane rides, Winer plans to spend his retirement continuing his true passion: teaching.

“I am not actually retiring to the rocking chair,” Winer said. “I am redirecting my energy into teaching. Some conducting, a little playing, and other musical adventures.”

As Winer leaves the music halls of Staples to pursue other musical ventures, the staff and students at Staples will surely miss his devotion to the arts.

“He was a tireless advocate for the music department,” music teacher Adele Valovich said. “I will miss his dogged defense of the arts.”

Like Winer, Julie Horowitz, a school social worker, is also not retiring to a life of complete relaxation.

“I am going to start my own social work practice in town,” Horowitz said. “It’ll be mostly about adolescents and kids transitioning between high school and college and other points in their lives. I love working around parenting issues as well.”

During Horowitz’s 13+ years at Staples, she has served as the coordinator of Open Choice, a program that brings kids from Bridgeport to the Westport school district.

“I’m really going to miss working with the Open Choice families from Bridgeport,” Horowitz said. “I really admire their commitment to getting their child the best education in such a great school system.”

Two teachers in the Special Education department will be retiring, as well.

Carmen Arciola is one of the two. And since he has been working at Staples since 1975, the choice to retire was not an easy one.

“I’ve been thinking about retirement for the past couple of years,” Arciola said. “It will really hit me when the end of August rolls around, and I find myself not having to return to Staples.”

And, although Arciola will be leaving Staples, his time spent here will not be forgotten.

“I’m leaving with 35 years of priceless memories,” Arciola said.

Alongside Arciola, special education teacher Andrea Beebe is also anticipating her retirement. While some have elaborate plans for their retirement, Beebe is excited for the simple pleasures that retirement brings.

“The first and most obvious thing I will do is not set my alarm for five a.m.,” Beebe said. “I love to read and have a stack of books waiting for me to open.”

And although late mornings and long books are exciting, Beebe will miss her daily life as a Staples faculty member.

“I have loved working with my students, their parents and all of my colleagues in every department.” Beebe said. “I have learned so much about teaching, working with others and discovering within myself an endless thirst for learning and knowledge.”