Donna Beck

My career started in 1982.  I had graduated from Salem State University in 1977 with a BS in Business Education and I was at home with 2 young children settling into motherhood.  I received a call from a friend that had graduated a year ahead of me at Salem asking me if I was interested in a position at CMS –a Grade 8 typing teacher.  Prop 2 ½ tax cuts had caused a lay-off of the “special” teachers and students would have a study in place of their special.  By October of 1982 parents got together and because of their efforts, not wanting their middle school children in study halls, pushed to find the money and reinstate the lost programs.  Many teachers had taken on new jobs.  I really wasn’t interested in teaching typing but the administrators explained that the position would be part time.  I decided to give it a try!   I would teach Grade 8 typing at Clinton Middle School.  Mr. Terrance Ingano was the department head at the time and he hired me on the spot!  (He eventually became the Supt. of Schools in Clinton!)  That was the start of my wonderful career at CMS!

Many changes happened in my career. I was one of the first teachers at the Clinton Middle School to have computers in my classroom. I was instrumental in bringing computers (from typewriters) into a lab setting for grades 7 and 8 in 1995. I designed the curriculum that is currently being used for all middle school students.  In 1996, I was a part of the middle school technology team and was a part of developing the tech competencies for the district.

In 1999, I received my Instructional Technology Certification I joined a group of “Intel Teachers” and was the recipient of a MA Dept. of Ed. Lighthouse Technology Grant—which was a grant to implement technology best practices into the school system.  I became a Train the Trainer with Microsoft Ace/Intel. In 2001 and 2002 was honored to present at Mass CUE Tech Conference presented by the Mass Dept. of Ed. I showcased my award winning Multimedia Project Amusement Park Escapade.

In 2010 I worked on the CPS technology team to design the district/schools websites.  In 2014 I  took on the position of the Clinton Public Schools Web Coordinator and school photographer.  I have captured thousands of pictures that highlight the past student activities of CMS.   Such great memories!

I have been an educator for 36 years and for many years I have informally mentored new teachers.  Why did I decide to join the mentoring program and become a formal mentor?  I was a novice teacher 36 years ago and I was on my own!  It sure was a scary time.  When I was hired as the 8th grade keyboarding teacher in 1982, walking up to my classroom was even scary! The hall was filled with all male teachers and at the end of the hall was one female teacher!  I was thrilled to see a friendly face!   As time went on the male teachers said that I would never make it at CMS because the kids would ‘eat me up alive!’  I though it was a joke at the time but boy oh boy they almost did.  In the 80’s there weren’t mentors.  It was sink or swim!

Advancing to 2019—wow have times changed!  I really want to use my experience to guide new teachers into this wonderful profession.  I am learning new strategies to not only use for mentors but for my classroom.  I love learning from novice teachers too!  This 20/20 Leadership Program is an opportunity for me to grow personally and professionally.  I would never want a novice teacher to come into teaching as I did in 1982!  I see mentoring as an opportunity to give back to a profession that has been wonderful to me!

In June 2019 I will be retiring after 36 years. This year I am the most senior teacher in the entire district!   I am so glad I worked through those beginning years.   I am not sure what my next path will be but I do know this Leadership Academy is helping me!