There are not many people these days that can say they have worked at the same job in the same organization for more than 40 years.
On Dec. 1, Richard K. Yerkey completed his forty-first year as the Business Manager for the School District of New London. Mr. Yerkey will be retiring from that role at the end of this month. During his tenure he has served the district with distinction. He was entrusted with guardianship of the district’s assets under the direction of five Superintendents.
Mr. Yerkey displayed an exceptional work ethic. Seen as a work-horse, his regular workday was from 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. During his long days, he helped to shape the organization in the areas of fiscal management, facilities management, food service and transportation services. Those familiar with his work know that he will leave quite a legacy for his work in project management. In his role as project manager, he has an impressive list of accomplishments.
His first project saw Parkview Elementary School being built in 1969. Other projects include the Agriculture building (current building & grounds facility) in 1979; Administration building in 1980; additions to Parkview and Readfield Elementary Schools in 1990; bus garage in 1991; Lincoln Elementary School in 1994; and the new High School with renovations to the Middle School in 1998. Recent accomplishments include the addition of three kindergarten classrooms at Parkview School and the Athletic Complex on the High School campus in 2009.
A specific project that sometimes goes unnoticed is the district’s technology infrastructure. In the 1980’s Mr. Yerkey demonstrated his skills by showing the foresight to establish a robust and state-of-the-art technology infrastructure which today connects all city schools and the public library with fiber optic cable and the two outlying schools in Sugar Bush and Readfield using alternative methods. Through his guidance this infrastructure continues to serve the district well for nearly thirty years. There isn’t much in the world of technology that can make such a claim.
Richard Yerkey’s stamina in the role of school business manager can be attributed to his strong work ethic and his enthusiasm for the job. He can be characterized as a man of strong convictions. You don’t survive 41 years without that. Perhaps his strongest conviction is the welfare of the kids. When posed with a problem that would improve the status of children in our schools, his response has always been – “We’ll find a way.”
Congratulations on a job well done.
Bill Fitzpatrick is the New London schools district administrator.