BATH — How many people can say “I love my job”? How many can say they make a difference in the lives of others? And, how many can do both of those things?

Anita Derr can, and she does it with a smile.

Anita is an educational technician, and she’s been at Fisher-Mitchell school in Bath for 19 years. She’s also one of the crossing guards, faithfully at her post every morning and every afternoon on High Street, escorting kids either across the street or across the driveway entrance to the school no matter how cold or how wet it is.

“I enjoy what I do, and I don’t mind it,” she says quietly, but with a twinkle in her eye. “I’m the first thing the kids see when they come to school. I have a pretty positive spirit most of the time, so I’ll just go with it. And if you’re going to do it, you might as well make it fun!”

For years commuters have seen her out there, practically dancing and skipping in her long skirts as she guides the children safely on to school grounds, guarding them as if they are her own.

“They ARE mine, when they’re in my jurisdiction,” she says. “Over the years, I’ve hopefully been able to put a smile on a child’s face, and I like to wave to them. There’s one that sees me every morning, and she goes, ‘happy Monday’ or ‘happy Tuesday.’”

“I LOVE seeing the kids light up,” she adds. “I just really enjoy children.”

Anita exudes a glow which is infectious, touching not just the kids, but the adults around her as her positive energy positively crackles.

“Anita is giving … she is grace under pressure and humble,” says school secretary Holly Spencer. “It could be negative out, but she comes in, she’s gonna say, ‘good morning, Gorgeous!’ Always spreads kindness.”

School principal Ross Berkowitz agrees. “She walks to school a lot on her own, and it could be like 15 below zero, and she comes in with a smile on her face, like, ‘Can you believe how awesome it is? It’s so cold!’ She just looks at anything with optimism. She just literally floats through these hallways, above any of the chaos, going with this positive can-do attitude.”

When she’s not helping children outside with her stop sign and her smiles and waves, she’s helping them inside during the school day, working often with special needs children in her ed tech role.

“We kind of help teachers help students. Those students having a little bit of a difficult time, we help smooth the way a bit. We have a lot more duties, but putting it in a nutshell, we bring what the teachers do down to a level the students understand.”

Once her official duties as an ed tech and crossing guard are done, she has a volunteer project that she’s headed up for 12 years at Fisher-Mitchell, running the Greenhouse Club on Friday afternoons in her tiny greenhouse attached to the school. She only has 10 students a year in her club, combining science, math and agriculture with a dash of fun.

“We talk about PH tests, we talk about GMOs, and it depends on the students, what they want to learn. We talk about leaves, and take them apart and talk about all the different parts of a leaf … the whole works. I’ve been vying for a bigger greenhouse for years so we could have more students.”

Anita grew up in “The County,” and received a B.A. in art, while minoring in English at the University of Maine, Presque Isle. She served four years in the Army, has three sons and three grandchildren. She’s in her late 50s, but just talking with her for a short time you detect the kid in her never left, which is, possibly her secret to connecting so well with children.

Ask her how long she plans on doing this, and the answer is almost immediate: “Forever! I don’t ever plan on retiring, at the moment.”

And for the kids at Fisher-Mitchell School, that’s a very, very good thing.