Retired Bernardston principal recognized for service to school district

  • Bob Clancy, former principal of both Bernardston Elementary and Pearl Rhodes Elementary schools, at right, received this year’s Holbrook Award during the Foundation for Educational Excellence’s annual meeting on Wednesday. Presenting the award is foundation member Justin Lawrence. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

  • Bob Clancy’s name has been added to a plaque that hangs in the Pioneer Valley Regional School lobby, recording the names of Holbrook Award recipients. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2019 6:00:26 PM
Modified: 11/22/2019 6:00:14 PM

NORTHFIELD — This year’s Holbrook Award from the Foundation for Educational Excellence was granted to Bob Clancy for his past service and leadership within the Pioneer Valley Regional School District.

“I can’t say anyone deserves this more,” foundation member Justin Lawrence said of Clancy during the group’s annual meeting Wednesday at Pioneer Valley Regional School.

According to a press release from the Foundation for Educational Excellence board of directors, the award was founded in honor of Richard “Rick” Holbrook, who worked as the foundation’s treasurer for many years. The award is given to a community member who models leadership qualities and contributes to the success of the local school system.

“This really is for the great staff and volunteers that I worked with,” Clancy said humbly, as he accepted the award Wednesday. “I couldn’t have done a fraction of anything I did without that staff, parents and volunteers. ... The kids are what it’s all about”

Clancy served as principal at Bernardston Elementary School for eight years, and concurrently filled the same role at Pearl Rhodes Elementary School in Leyden for the last two of those years. He also spent five years with the Mohawk Trail Regional School District, coordinating the renovation and rebuilding of its schools; worked at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School and within the Boston public schools; and served as a teaching principal at Rowe Elementary School for 13 years before coming to the Pioneer school district.

According to the release, Clancy has a bachelor’s degree in fine art and education, and a master’s degree in education administration, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also served in the U.S. Army for three years.

Although Clancy retired at the end of the 2018 to 2019 school year, he kept a hand in education, serving as the interim principal for the Royalston Community School during its search for a new principal this fall. He lives in Rowe with his wife, Lisa Miller, and their son Liam, who attends Greenfield Community College. Their son Sean is attending Westfield State University.

Clancy’s name has been added to a plaque that hangs in the Pioneer lobby, recording the names of Holbrook Award recipients.

Enriching the school district’s curriculum

The Foundation for Educational Excellence began in 1991 with the goal of restoring educational enrichment programs, according to the release. It provides grant funding for arts, humanities and science programs for all schools in the Pioneer school district that cannot be funded through the regular school budget. Grants are awarded for both long-term and more immediate use purposes.

During the Foundation for Educational Excellence’s annual meeting, Lawrence thanked Clancy for his cooperation with the foundation during his time in the district. He said Clancy would often encourage teachers to make use of the grants available to them through the foundation.

“As the foundation title implies, it’s all for education enrichment,” said Administrative Assistant Lynne Manring, who was also honored Wednesday for her nearly 15 years of work with and dedication to the Foundation for Educational Excellence.

As the foundation members enjoyed a meal from Hillside Catering, Manring gave a presentation highlighting the results of the past year’s efforts. One teacher used Foundation for Educational Excellence funding to purchase “Ozobots” for third-grade students at Northfield Elementary School. Using specialized markers with the Ozobots in their geometry and code use lessons, students created paths that the bots follow based on their coded programming.

Bernardston Elementary School teacher Kelly Guertin used Foundation for Educational Excellence funding to purchase sensory tools for first-graders. These tools are used for students who need to keep moving while working on lessons, and include a small under-desk bicycle, rocking chairs and desk risers with balance boards.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.

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