Martha’s Vineyard educator Dan Seklecki celebrates 29 years


After 29 years with the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools (MVPS), Dan Seklecki, the director Student Support Services who oversees special education, told his staff and colleagues he preferred to retire on June 30 without a big send-off.

However, that wouldn’t do for the many members of the education community who wanted a celebration for Mr. Seklecki, to wish him well and pay tribute to his many contributions to students Island-wide.

As a compromise, special education (SPED) staff members in the superintendent’s office put together an “Un-Party” for Mr. Seklecki. Superintendent of schools James Weiss, school administrators, SPED personnel, teachers and support staff attended the low-key celebration on June 16 at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury.

“It was a very nice and surprising night for my family and me,” Mr. Seklecki told The Times in a phone call this week. “It’s something that I had encouraged people not to go about doing, but now I’m really glad they did, because it was a great time that left me with some wonderful memories.”

Mr. Seklecki’s wife, Cathy MacDonald, a special education teacher at Edgartown School, attended the party along with their son Dan, age 22. He lives in Vermont and works in admissions at Saint Michael’s College. Ms. MacDonald’s brother and sister-in-law made a special trip from Nova Scotia for the event.

In lieu of a present, the party-goers made donations in Mr. Seklecki’s honor that went to scholarships for students to participate in programs at the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club.

The event featured a potluck dinner, served up with some side dishes of praise for Mr. Seklecki. The party’s theme was “The Boss,” which tied Mr. Seklecki’s professional role in with the nickname of his favorite singer and songwriter, Bruce Springsteen.

One of the evening’s highlights was a special poem, which follows, written by Barbara Lindley in honor of the man who was “The Boss” for almost her entire career. Ms. Lindley, an MVPS occupational therapist for 30 years, retired in January 2010.

His 29th School Year

By Barbara Lindley

A poem, which because its author’s memory is fuzzy about the details of the last 26 years, limits itself to the subject of his 29th school year.

It was back in the summer

when we first got the news,

And the news that we got,

well, it gave us the blues.

Yes, we first heard the news

way back in the summer

And the news that we heard

it was really a bummer.

They said that SekIecki

would soon be retiring,

a new SPED director

the schools would be hiring.

They said that our leader

would soon leave our town.

In six, short months

this deal would go down.

So they wrote up an ad

that was craftily worded

appealing to would‑be

directors who heard it.

“Be our new SPED director

and live by the sea!”

(Though we might fail to mention—

this job’s more work than three!)

So the want ad went out,

out to one and to all

And they networked and interviewed

all through the fall.

A committee read resumes

’til they just couldn’t face ’em

And finally they figured…

they couldn’t replace him!

Then the good word went out,

it was all over school.

SekIecki was staying

this year — we were cool.

Seklecki was staying,

he was staying ’til June.

Then we’d have a big party

that was over the moon!!

So we all settled in

for his 29th school year

glad that the boss

was staying past New Year’s.

Then all through the winter

and on into spring,

We heard not a word —

not one little thing.

“Who’s planning the Party?”

We all want to know.

“Where and when will it be?”

We all want to go.

“Will it be at the Harbor View,

or maybe at Sharkys?”

Then the memo came down…


The boss wants no music,

no fanfare, no toasting,

no skits, songs or speeches,

no boozing, no roasting!

An UN-party at the Ag Hall,

so that’s where we’re going?

Then the rumor went ’round

the boss might not be showing!

Was he all that afraid

of a little exposure?

Without a big party,

how could we have closure?

How could we say thank you?

How not sing your praises?

We know if you could have,

you’d have given us raises!

And to all of us out there,

SPED lads and SPED lasses,

you’ve given, forgiven,

and covered our asses!

So how can we tell you

how enormous your loss will be?

I can say it, and boldly,

’cause now you’re not the boss of me!

So I speak for us all,

UN-party or not,

when I say that we’ll miss you,

And miss you a lot!!

There’s lots we would tell you,

it only you’d let us . . .