Class of ‘78 and ‘20
Mrs. Najmi has left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of the Reading Memorial High School community in her 20 years of service to the school. She is a warm, compassionate, funny person and a scholarly, enthusiastic, caring teacher. Nancy is also a thoughtful, collaborative, spirited colleague who serves as a quiet leader and social chair in the RMHS Science Department. As a Class of ‘78 RMHS graduate, mother of three Reading High graduates, and an active member of the Reading community, Nancy is deeply committed to making the town a safe, inclusive environment for all. She is a trained engineer and environmental steward who seizes opportunities to make real-world applications to concepts her students are learning in Physics, Environmental Science, and Meteorology courses. Many science colleagues have benefitted from the guidance and support that Nancy provides as a mentor. And yet, perhaps the most important lessons that Nancy has taught us is to enjoy life with family, friends & pets; keep things in perspective; laugh often; eat dessert first, and not to take yourself too seriously. We feel fortunate to know such an extraordinary educator and we wish Nancy a long, healthy, happy retirement!
MARY ELLEN KIRWAN
Class of ‘20
Mrs. Mary Ellen Kirwan, RN, BSN, M.Ed., will be retiring after 20 years as a school nurse for the Reading Public Schools. Mrs. Kirwan, a native of Michigan, holds undergraduate degrees in education and nursing, a master’s degree in education, and is a Nationally Certified School Nurse. Mary Ellen first worked in pediatrics at Franciscan Children’s Hospital. She began her school nursing career at Killam Elementary School, where she worked for nine years, before transferring to Reading Memorial High School for the past 11 years. Mary Ellen brings her kind and thoughtful demeanor to every interaction with students and staff. She has been a calm and caring presence in the health office. In her words, “It is a joy taking care of the needs of our students, staff, and families.” Mary Ellen will be greatly missed at RMHS but is looking forward to spending more time with her family and enjoying the outdoors in Maine. Congratulations, Mary Ellen!
Class of ‘20
Jeff Ryan is retiring after an incredible 40-plus year career in education. Jeff has done so much for the students and faculty at RMHS in his 23 years of being an iconic fixture and a positive force within the Reading community. Jeff arrived at work early every day to get ready for his classes and would often stay well after the last bell. On nights when there was an event or performance at the school, it would not be unheard of to see Mr. Ryan still in the building as late as 9:00 or 10:00 pm. But teaching history to his students was what Jeff was passionate about, and his love of history was infectious to those who were around him. When Dr. Ryan (he held a Doctorate in History from Boston College) was not in the classroom, you could be sure to find him reading or discussing new historical scholarship or weighing in on important current political and social issues. In addition, Jeff was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in 2003, and he was accepted in the 2004 United States-Eurasia Award for Excellence in Teaching Program in which he traveled to Russia to work with Russian teachers and students. Somehow, he found time to publish a novel, A Volcano Heard Afar, about Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War and were caught up in the Red Scare back in the US following WW2.
Jeff has been a faculty advisor for countless student clubs and activities including Young Democrats and Amnesty International; he was also the advisor to the Class of 2001. Jeff was a regular supporter of our students at their proms, drama and music performances, athletic contests, and graduations. Jeff brought his love of opera to RMHS by organizing annual trips for students to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. And during most of his summers at RMHS, he led school trips to many exciting and interesting destinations such as Peru, multiple countries in Europe (with Poland being his favorite), and Morocco. He was a mentor, a compassionate listener, and a kind and considerate role model for students and teachers alike. His students both past and present know, as well as his colleagues, know, that Jeff Ryan is an exceptional educator who was an essential thread in the fabric of the lives of so many families in the Reading community.
Class of ‘20
Before teaching French at RMHS for the past 6 years, Mrs. Janet Klein taught French at Coolidge Middle School for 12 years. She was well known at both schools for her great work ethic, outstanding teaching skills, and collegiality. Since she had the experience of teaching the younger students, she was a great asset to us at the high school since her understanding of students extended to their earlier teen years. An early bird, Janet was often in school before most other department members and was often to be found before school in her classroom with her students who would come in to make up work, ask questions, or just to visit. Janet has a great sense of humor and would share occasional comments from her students that she found amusing, such as “Why are you teaching French if you are from England?” Janet’s students would say that she is very fair, organized, and good at explaining things in ways they can understand. She always made sure to present material in a variety of ways to reach all types of learners. While at Coolidge, she would chaperone the yearly trips to Quebec and this year had planned to chaperone the exchange trip to France with Mrs. McSorley, but she is no stranger to travel and no doubt will get back to her own travel plans when possible. A beloved teacher whose love for her profession and students always shone through, Mrs. Klein will be missed very much by her students as well as her colleagues in the Foreign Language Departments of the Reading Public Schools.
Class of ‘20
Illeana Napoli receives the High Five for the spirit of fun and caring that she has brought to every day of her work at RMHS. Since she began her work at RMHS, she has been at the center of the school’s operation, whether working in the main office, running an assistant principal’s office, or running a busy Guidance Department office. In her many assignments, she has shown versatility, adaptability, and of course, dependability. Illeana has always been someone who the school could count on to be there, offering to pitch in in whatever way she was needed. Students can identify a genuine, caring person instantly, so it is no wonder so many of them looked to Illeana as one of their favorite adults in the building. Lastly, this High Five is given to Illeana because no one at RMHS is quicker to share a smile, a laugh, or even a song than Illeana. She will be missed at RMHS.
Class of ‘20
Spanish teacher Mr. Giulio Binaghi has been an integral part of the RMHS Foreign Language Department for the past 10 years. He previously taught at Wakefield High School for 13 years, where he was also Department Head and Timberlane Regional High School for 15 years. Besides his knowledge of Spanish, Giulio’s expertise in educational technology enlivened his classes and was helpful to his colleagues as well. Mr. Binaghi’s students would say that “Senor” teaches about life as much as he does Spanish. He is a brilliant teacher and a generous, honest, genuine human being who truly cares for his students. The consummate gentleman, Mr. Binaghi’s attire of choice was almost always the suit and tie. He has always loved school and dressed accordingly to show his respect. His teaching methods have ensured that his students would leave his classes well-prepared and appreciative of his creative skills as a teacher. Although some of them may have felt a bit apprehensive at first, many have finished his courses saying that Mr. Binaghi was their favorite teacher ever, the best teacher they ever had, the one they will remember the most, the one who changed their lives. There is no higher praise for a teacher. His generosity also extends to his colleagues as he has shared so much of his materials, advice, laughs, and ideas over the years. A student would be lucky to have been in his class for one or two years, but his RMHS colleagues who have known him for ten years will most certainly never forget Mr. Giulio Binaghi.
Class of ‘20
For the past nine years, Mrs. O’Rourke has been the face of RMHS in the main office and the go-to person for teachers, department heads, and administrators alike. She is always there to greet us in the morning with a smile, a quick laugh, and her ever-present large cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee often delivered to her by her husband Tom. Carmen has a degree in the Classics from Boston College and she worked at the State House for many years prior to coming to RMHS. She is a long time Reading Resident whose children went through the Reading school system. She is often found helping out at school events after hours at football games and drama productions. Outside of RMHS, Carmen enjoys playing tennis with friends and spending time with her grandchildren, who affectionately call her “Nonnie”. During their retirement, Carmen and her husband Tom are looking forward to traveling and spending more time with family. We wish Carmen all the best and a Happy Retirement – we will miss her!