City Says Goodbye To Mr. Scully

HAVERHILL — Superintendent James Scully is known for always being on the clock.

In the winter, he sent text messages to Mayor James Fiorentini at 5 in the morning to ask about snow on the ground. On other days, Fiorentini said he’s gotten messages from the superintendent to say he’s at the Consentino School at 11:30 at night.

“Well, good for you, now let me get back to sleep,” Fiorentini quipped Monday evening, to an appreciative crowd of more than 300 people gathered at Bradford Country Club to say goodbye to the retiring superintendent.

Fiorentini, one of just a handful of speakers, told the crowd he’s worked with four superintendents and hundreds of people but never with someone more hard-working than Scully.

Fiorentini credited Scully in eight years on the job with helping to bring the high school renovation to completion, leading efforts to build a new Hunking School, and boosting the city’s SAT scores so that they are now “higher than every other comparable urban district in the state.”

"His greatest attribute is that Jim Scully is just a really great and decent guy," Fiorentini said. "When one of his employees gets sick, Jim Scully is always there beside them. If they go into the hospital, Jim Scully is there. If a family member dies, Jim Scully is there. No matter what it takes, Jim Scully is there ... one of the nicest human beings I've ever met."

Fiorentini presented Scully with a citation declaring Monday, June 11, as "Superintendent James F. Scully Day” in Haverhill. State Reps. Diana DiZoglio and Andy Vargas presented a citation from the House of Representatives.

Scully, who officially retires at the end of the school year, told the crowd that Haverhill’s love for its teachers is something he's never seen.

"There are so many wonderful, wonderful teachers in this school system that give of their heart and soul every day," he said.

He singled out Judy Reilly, who is retiring this year after 57 years teaching elementary school in Haverhill.

"I made one person promise me she wouldn't retire until I retired, and it's Judy Reilly,” he said, asking Reilly to stand to applause. "I'd like to say Judy was my kindergarten teacher but she doesn't think that's funny ... she gives me the look.”

Monday's crowd included many employees of the city's schools, including Luis Gonzalez, who has worked 34 years in building maintenance and now as a storekeeper, purchasing supplies for the district

"I've worked for seven superintendents in Haverhill, and Mr. Scully is the best," Gonzalez said. "He's done more for this district than any superintendent in my 34 years working here."

Cara LaBelle, a health teacher at Haverhill High School, worked for Scully when he was principal at Consentino School.

"You always knew what was expected, and kids always came first," LaBelle said. "For Mr. Scully, that was the bottom line."

Rachel Queenan, 24, who graduated from Haverhill High School in 2012, earned a degree at Merrimack College then returned to the city as a teacher at Tilton School.

"I remember Mr. Scully coming into the high school and talking to kids in the hall, so he was a very familiar face," she said. "I applied for a job in Haverhill knowing he was leading the district, as my memories of him carried over."

Former school maintenance director Tom Geary worked with Scully for six years before taking a job last year with the Timberlane Regional School District as business operations coordinator.

"Mr. Scully pushed people to the brink of exhaustion, but it was always for a noble cause," he said. "He always put children first, no matter the circumstances.

Local businessman Ernie DiBurro, who donated nearly $1.5 million to Haverhill High athletics and academics since Scully took over the district, said he will miss working with him.

"Jim worked around the clock, day and night,” he said, “and you'd also find him at sporting events on weekdays and on weekends. His work ethic was fantastic, and it will be hard to fill his shoes. We're all going to miss him."

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