Former principals honor retiring CM secretary

Three past principals of Central Manor Elementary returned to the school recently to honor longtime school secretary Dianne Smith, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Smith started at Central Manor in 1987 under principal Gerald “Jerry” Sheckart, working as secretary, health room technician and library aide. When she was hired, the school had only 148 students, compared with 625 today.

“Our staff knew every family and every student by name,” said Smith, who has strong family ties to the school.

Her father, Edgar Funk, attended Central Manor when it housed just four classrooms with two grades in each room. Both Dianne and her husband, Barry Smith, attended kindergarten there, and their son was a Central Manor student from second to sixth grade.

“It is very hard to leave here,” Dianne said.  “I love what I do and the staff I work with, the parents, the children.  Living my whole life in the Penn Manor area,  it just seems like ‘home,’ which was our goal from the beginning — to make families and staff love it here so much they wouldn’t want to leave and would fight to get their kids in this school.”

“I think we succeeded!”

Although she is leaving Central Manor, Dianne will keep her connections to the school. Three of her grandchildren will attend Central Manor in the fall, and she plans to volunteer at the school whenever she can.

Joining Sheckart to honor Smith last week were former principals Diane Denison (1984-1996) and Deb Holt (1996-2014) and current principal Brian Malek and assistant principal Michele Transue.

Congratulations, Dianne, and best wishes in retirement!

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