Tom Meehan, current Edna Louise Spear Elementary School principal whose education career spans over 40 years, has announced he will retire in December.
Meehan, who originally retired in 2006 from the Middle Country School District, came back to work at the Port Jeff elementary school during the 2011-2012 school year initially on an interim basis. Later that year it was changed to a permanent position.
“I thought I was going to be filling in for a couple of weeks, almost 10 years later I’m still here,” he said, jokingly. “I couldn’t have been happier with how these past few years have gone; it’s been great.”
The educator said deciding to retire again was a tough decision for him. He hopes students will be able to come back to the building during his last few months on the job.
“It broke my heart not being able to see the students these past months,” he said. “I like being in the hallways talking to them and just seeing their excitement.”
Meehan has a long history in Port Jefferson. He has raised his family in the village, he graduated from Port Jefferson High School and is an elected commissioner of the Port Jefferson Fire District.
“It’s a great community, I’m proud to be from Port Jeff,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of families in the district. I’ve coached some of their kids in baseball. It is nice seeing them grow up here,” he said.
The elementary school principal was often seen walking to school every morning, and said he enjoyed being spotted by students who saw him making the trek to work in his suit and hiking boots.
For his dedication to Port Jefferson’s students and the greater community, Meehan was chosen as a TBR News Media Person of the Year in 2015.
The district hasn’t officially announced a successor, though Meehan said he believes Assistant Principal Amy Laverty would be a great choice for the job.
“She would make an excellent principal,” he said.
Meehan said he will miss the students and his staff he has gotten to know over the years. In retirement, he is looking forward to going on more hikes and spending more time with his grandchildren and family.
“I want to thank the district and community for the opportunity to do this job. It is hard to walk away,” he said.