Pam Moody ends 44-year education career
BATH — Pamela Moody remembers it like it was yesterday, even though it was more than 36 years ago in 1982.
She had an adult education student, a Frenchman, who had a daughter who just wanted her daddy to read to her, but he couldn’t. After spending countless hours working with Moody, the man and his daughter showed up at the Moody residence one day with a simple request.

“He said he wanted to read a book to both of our daughters, so he came inside, sat both girls on his lap and read for the first time,” Moody said as she wiped away tears. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Moody is retiring after 44 years in education, the last bit as adult education director for Regional School Unit 1 and the Wiscasset School Department.

Pam Moody will retire after 44 years in education. Contributed photo

During an interview last week in her office at Morse High School, Moody reflected on more than four decades in education, which began when she started a kindergarten program in Jefferson. She spent four years teaching youngsters before moving to the opposite end of the spectrum to work with adults.

She started the adult education program in Richmond and then moved to Wiscasset before coming to RSU 1 — which includes Bath, Phippsburg, Woolwich and Arrowsic — a decade ago.

“The transition to teaching adults was very different because it was the ‘70s and people were coming home from Vietnam,” Moody said.

“So many of them couldn’t read and teaching non-reading adults became my passion because it was so rewarding.”

Moody said there are still adults who cannot read, and she’s continued helping adults at the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, something she hopes to continue doing following her retirement.

Education, at all levels, has changed so much since Moody’s career began, and she said that is one of the reasons she decided to retire at the end of this school year. She said she intended to stay a couple of more years.

“It used to be all about the student, like it has always been, but now you’re so involved with all the state mandates that it’s not just about the students anymore,” she said. “Schools are trying to put square pegs into round holes.”

Moody isn’t sure if she’ll miss the long hours and tedious work dealing with state and federal funding, but she said she’s definitely going to miss the interaction with her students, who have ranged in age from 18 to in their 80s.

“I’m finding that over the years, my students have taught me as much as I’ve taught them, and I’m going to miss that,” she said as she again became emotional.

Principal Jay Pinkerton ends career a ‘Shipbuilder’
Jay Pinkerton is calling it a career after more than 30 years in education, the last five of which were spent as the principal at Morse High School. Following time in Dover-Foxcroft and at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, Pinkerton came to Morse and was immediately impressed with the support the school receives from the community.

During a phone interview last week, Pinkerton talked about the signage in downtown Bath welcoming back Morse alumni and congratulating graduates as one of the ways the city supports its high school, which opened in 1904.

“The community overwhelmingly supported the new school and Morse just has a certain spirit that’s different,” Pinkerton said, referencing the new Morse High School set to open in a few years.

“There’s something special about this place.”

Education wasn’t Pinkerton’s first career. His undergraduate work was in science and he spent almost 10 years running water treatment plants. He became interested in education after a suggestion from a friend, and he was finding his work at the time a little too routine.

Pinkerton said the changing technology has made the biggest impact on education since his career began in the 1980s. Smartphones have made it a challenge for educators and administrators who are constantly having to deal with problems arising from the use of social media. But the devices have also allowed teachers to teach and provide instruction in ways nobody thought possible 30 years ago.

One thing that hasn’t change over the course of his career is the “unbelievable dedication of the teachers and staff” and the supportive parents and communities.

“These are people who’d go to the ends of the earth to make sure their students were successful,” Pinkerton said.
Pinkerton admitted that it’s bittersweet to not be able to be the principal when the new Morse opens in a few years, but he said it was always his goal to turn over the keys to the school to its new leaders before the new building opens.

“My wife retired last year, and it started to feel strange thinking about going until the new school opened,” he said. “But that wouldn’t have been a good time to leave either because it takes a year or two to iron out the wrinkles of a new building.”

He said his mentor and friend, the one who got him into education, once advised him not to overstay his welcome and stay too long, so Pinkerton believes this is the right time to retire. And he thinks Morse is in good hands with incoming principal Eric Varney.

“I never wanted to be here and have people asking when I was going to leave,” he said.

Pinkerton said he hasn’t figured out how he’ll fill the void of not having daily interactions with teachers and students, but he and his wife are busy with property and projects and traveling, so he doesn’t think he’ll be bored.

“I’ve got a lot of projects, and we camp, snowmobile, cross-country ski and boat on the ocean,” he said. “We also still own a property that needs some extra attention, so I won’t be bored at all.”