“He will be difficult to replace,” she said.
The Franklin graduation is also 7 p.m. Friday. Carol Barker (formerly Smith), is completing her 27th year as band director there. She was recruited to Delaware Academy right out of college in 1978. She started at Franklin in 1985 on a part-time basis. She had 15 students in the band then but as the program grew she became full-time.
“Its been a good fit,” she said, that was possible because of total support from the program on all levels.. She said she likes working in a small school where she deals with students in grades four through 12 and can see them develop and mature.
“You really get to know the kids and keep in touch with them,” she said. “I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Barker, 56, who lives in Binghamton, was recently remarried and said she is retiring for several reasons. They include starting a new life with her husband, devoting more time to playing her instruments — clarinet and saxophone in a variety of settings — and avoiding a two-hour commute.
“I feel like I’ve had a good run,” she said.
Superintendent Gordon Daniels agreed saying that Barker has “an ability to push students to get the best out of them.” This has made her program a “student magnet” that has about — of the eligible students involved, which is a source of pride for the school. With a total student population of about 300, that is “pretty incredible,” he said.
He said he was disappointed to lose someone like Barker, but with her help, they hope to have found someone like her in her replacement, Sofia DeLousia.
At Stamford Central School, where graduation is 2 p.m. Saturday, band director David Numbers will be retiring. He came to Stamford in 1990 but has had a career as a music teacher in other schools since the 1970s. Turning 65, he said he is eligible to retire. What has kept him involved all these years is working with students.