SHED's Sydney Bialo Retires After 27 Years
Sydney Bialo has been Executive Director of SHED, Inc. from its inception. She leaves knowing the program is in capable hands.
Sydney Bialo had been at the helm of SHED, Inc. (Shawsheen Extended Day) when it began as a town program located at the Shawsheen School, with only 15 Kindergarden-aged children and 3 staff in September 1983.
She retired March 11. For the past 27 years, she has been instrumental in changes from its incorporation as a non-profit in 1984, to the opening of Kid's Club program for 1-6 graders in 1991, to its relocation to the Phillips Academy campus, and introduction of its summer programs in 1998, to instituting 'Springboard to Kindergarden' Readiness in 2003 to the newest program, 'Minds and Motion'.
Bialo saw SHED, Inc. grow to over 300 students and 45 staff members. She credits her staff, most of who have been there 10 plus years, the parents and the board.
Linda Shottes-Bouchard, the Kid's Club Director for the past 20 years is Bialo's successor as Executive Director.
"Linda provides new energy to the position. She shares the same mission, sense of culture and the importance we place on building relationships with the staff, children and the families," Bialo said.
Other staff changes include Diana Hurley, assistant director of Kid's Club for 20 years, will move into the Kid's Club director position. Bette Lynch will remain in her position as Director of SHED and Springboard, and Karen Ulbin will remain as senior coordinator.
Bialo credits her longevity to the growing, evolving and redesigning of the programs to meet the needs of families.
When Andover instituted the option of full day kindergarten, Shed, Inc. piloted a new program called 'Springboard to Kindergarten', a readiness program for those children who turn 5 in July or August and need another year to grow, or for those who miss the Sept. 1 enrollment date, but do not need another year of nursery school.
'Minds and Motion' a redesigned half-day Kindergarden enrichment program is new this year.
Bialo recalled their excitement when Shed, Inc. was one of 300 programs across the country to receive accreditation in 2002 from the newly formed National School Age Project for "the highest school-age programming."
In 27 years, Bialo has seen students return as teenage assistants and teachers. "Last year, we had a child of a student," she said.
Officially retired, Bialo plans to spend time taking care of her new granddaughter, but will also be returning to Shed to work with Shottes-Bouchard to ensure a smooth transition. She explained,"I will be supporting and helping her."
Bialo also plans to visit "now and then" to see the staff whom she refers to as "my friends."
"I have great peace of mind. My baby is in good hands," she said.
Funding for Shed, Inc. is tuition-based with a few State-funded slots. They are now taking registrations for their summer and fall programs. For more information call 978-623-8460 or go on the website.