Tim Mayes of Bedford to retire in June as Superintendent of Schools

School’s almost out for Tim Mayes, Bedford’s superintendent of schools, for as of June 30, Mayes will retire from his position.

He will finish his school days in his eighth year as the leader of a school district that encompasses six schools – Bedford High School, Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, Peter Woodbury School, Memorial School, Riddle Brook School and McKelvie Intermediate School.

Mayes will pass on his duties and surrender his supply of midnight oil to Chip McGee, who will assume the post this summer.

Mayes recently said he intends to spend more time with his wife, Karen, his kids and grandchild. He said he hopes to spend some time volunteering for charities or service organizations. He also plans to spend some time on the golf course and modestly admits, “My game certainly needs it.”

He and Karen will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary on June 26. The same month will mark 30 years in education for Karen. Her most recent post has been as a special education teacher in Amherst, for the past 17 years. The pair has two grown children, Brett, 33, and Kiersten, 29. Brett and his wife, Lindsay, have a son, Charlie, 3. The home of the grandchild surely will be a more frequent destination as of June, for Brett, Lindsay and Charlie live nearby in Wilton. Kiersten resides in York, Maine, – not too far of a jaunt, when one need not be on the job at the next morning’s proverbial crack of dawn.

Mayes shares here his reflections on his total time in education of some 40 years and his nearly eight years in Bedford. He freely admits his time in the town has been an invigorating tenure that has brought him, for the most part, satisfaction and smiles.

Q: In your years in education, can you recount instances where you changed someone’s life?

A: I regularly have former students and staff relate stories to me about something I said, or did, something that, for me, might have seemed small at the time, but they remember how important is was for them. They tell me, sometimes 20 to 30 years later, that they have not forgotten about it. It reminds me how influential educators can be and that we need to take every opportunity to encourage people to work hard, do their best and overcome challenges.

Q: What have you come to value in Bedford from your years here?

A: I appreciate the community support of learning, support which manifests itself in so many ways. Our district regularly has been recognized for the number of volunteers in our schools. The number of volunteer hours exceeds 30,000 on an annual basis. We also benefit from having involved parents. Parents and community members serve on committees, attend focus group meetings, complete surveys and take part in the process of education. The input and feedback from their participation has been extremely valuable. Additionally, the experiences parents provide their children, both in school and out, are extraordinary and make a difference. I feel, too, that the Bedford community has annually supported school budgets and employee contracts that have enabled our district and students to flourish.

Q: What challenges will be faced by your successor?

A: Like many aspects of the world today, education is in a state of flux. Technology, funding, demographics, regulations and laws all are having impacts on education and these factors are constantly changing. Students present more significant challenges these days at a younger age. Our administrative leadership team and staff have worked diligently to position our district to be able to address as many of these challenges as possible, not knowing the exact impact, but allowing for a variety of possible directions that the district could take.

Q: What encouragement can you give to the next in your office?

A: Chip McGee is one of the reasons our district has enjoyed so much success. He is a very thoughtful educator who knows how to work collaboratively with people. He has constantly established higher standards for our students and staff and is the first to recognize when we, or our students, haven’t performed well. I believe that his understanding of the community and his skill set will be invaluable for moving the district forward. Given his 10-plus years working in Bedford, the transition to new leadership will be smooth. He and his team will be able to hit the ground running.

Q: As you will not be forgotten, are there special people you will never forget?

A: Several people have had a tremendous influence on my professional career. The first is Ed Thibodeau, the first principal of Londonderry High School who hired me to be a part of the team that opened the school in 1978. He modeled the value of a strong work ethic and the importance of taking care of details. Second is Dennis Pope, former Bedford superintendent of schools. Dennis has supported my administrative career from my tenure of assistant principal through my term as superintendent in Bedford. He was always available to answer questions or provide advice when it was needed. He always reminded me that there was no one way to get something accomplished. Many times, there were multiple methods of getting the job done. The leader’s job was to get people to collaborate to accomplish the end goal.

Q: What have I not asked that you would like to include?

A: I would like to thank the various School Board members who have served the Bedford School District, and specifically, the board chairpersons with whom I have worked directly. I thank Sue Thomas, Cindy Chagnon, Dave Sacks, Terry Wolf and Don Graff, who all have provided great leadership for our district and advice and counsel for me. I acknowledge Linda Murphy, my administrative assistant, who has served the Bedford School District for more than 28 years. Her support, extremely organized and accurate work, and counsel have been invaluable.

Finally, I would like to thank my family, Karen, Brett and Kiersten, for the support and understanding that have allowed me to spend many hours away from home doing the things I love.

Editor’s note: We thank Tim Mayes for participating in this Up Close feature. We wish him all good things as he enjoys his family, his volunteer efforts and his soon-to-improve golf game.