WHATELY, MA — Inside the Frontier Regional School administration office, a tangible sense of respect and appreciation for longtime Superintendent Martha Barrett emanates from staff members.
“She is going to be missed,” said Donna Lloyd, who works in accounts payable in the office. “She brings just a family, community presence. She has brought us in as an extended family to her.”
After serving for more than 20 years as an educator in the region, Barrett will retire at the end of the school year.
Barrett started as a substitute teacher in the district in 1988, and quickly became interim principal of the Old Deerfield Grammar and South Deerfield Elementary School, which were combined to make Deerfield Elementary School in 1992. Since then, she has served as a teacher and a principal at numerous local schools, including Frontier Regional High School, where she was principal for 12 years.
When she became superintendent, Barrett said she didn’t know what to do at first. She started walking through the halls, meeting people.
“I called it leadership by walking around. And I didn’t think it was revolutionary,” she says, “but it was. No (superintendent) ever walked around.”
During the course of her career, Barrett said she is most proud of pushing the arts in the district, especially at Frontier Regional during her tenure as principal.
“I’ve always felt strongly that everyone should take an intro to theater class,” she says.
Barrett’s legacy in the district spans generations. Her influence has affected students, faculty, parents, educators and people in the community from all different walks of life.