Farewell to Retiring MHS Staff Members

Ms. OReilly, beloved science teacher of MHS, goes into retirement.

Photo Courtesy of Carnegie Prep

Ms. O’Reilly, beloved science teacher of MHS, goes into retirement.

Shannon Turner-Porter:

This year, Ms. Shannon Turner-Porter is concluding her 50 years of teaching at Mamaroneck High School. She came to MHS in 1970 as a Social Studies teacher and since then has taught every grade level in classes such as African Asian history, European history, US History and Government, Sociology, and Current Issues in Government and Law. In addition to those courses, she has also organized and taught Senior electives such as Facing History & Ourselves, Basic Law, The Holocaust Years, Current Events, African American History class. She served as the chairperson of Social Studies during the 1980s and as a class advisor for classes of all grades. Beyond the classroom, she has worked as club advisor for several clubs including American Field Service, Red Cross, and the Multicultural Club.

Ms. Turner-Porter has always had a love for travel so she started the Porter travel group and, as a result, has taken over 200 students and teachers on her trips. Her first trip was in the 1980s to Israel as part of an exchange program. From there she took students to countries such as Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Japan, England, France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Her colleague, Mr. Greene, describes Ms. Turner-Porter as “the most dedicated educator [he] knows. But the thing that always amazes [him] is her expertise.” He praised how “she knows her stuff, and that was always palpable in every conversation [he] had with her about teaching, history, politics, and culture.”

After 50 years working as a part of the MHS community, Ms. Turner-Porter will miss many things, but most of all will be her daily interactions with her students. She says how she “always looked forward to September when [she] would see new faces and some old returning for a different course that [she] taught.” She “really enjoyed coming to work because there was always something different going on.” As one lasting piece of advice, Ms. Turner advises her students to not “stop learning and be curious, be accepting of differences and be kind.” Mamaroneck will miss Ms. Turner-Porter dearly and thanks her for the time and the care she has dedicated to her students and to the school at large.


Maria Siciliano:

Special Education Teaching Assistant and Future Business Leaders of America Club Advisor Maria Sicilaino has been working in the district since 2005, first working at Mamaroneck High School in 2010. In her time at both Hommocks and MHS, Siciliano has left lasting impressions on both students and colleagues through her compassion and dedication to the work she does. Siciliano has served as the FBLA Club Advisor for the past nine years, in that time making FBLA feel less like a club and more like a family. She always emphasizes the importance of helping others, and through her leadership Siciliano has helped students hold leadership positions and at both the state and national levels of FBLA. While Siciliano’s time as a Teaching Assistant is coming to an end, the connections she has made during her time in the district will last a lifetime.


Mercedes Samoya-Rodriguez:

Mercedes Samoya-Rodriguez has been working as a teacher with the Transition Academy at Mamaroneck High School for the past 24 years. She has worked to develop vocational skills and generally support her Transition Academy academy students and has enjoyed this immensely. She will miss coming to MHS every day and is grateful for “the opportunity and the privilege to work with an amazing, very special group of students and wonderful staff.” She is grateful to the entire MHS community, but specifically thanks the entire Transition Academy Team and all of the students, parents, and staff “for making [her] job rewarding every day.” Although she is sad to be ending her time at the high school, she knows her “heart will always be at MHS.”


Craig Romanek:

Craig Romanek has been an integral part of the MHS community for the past four decades. During his 41 years in the district, Mr. Romanek taught Woodshop, Auto Mechanics, Electronics, a year of Physics, and most recently, Architecture. MHS student Briana Lopez (‘22) describes him as “one of the few educators [she’s] had that treats students as equals.” She says how “Every day he teaches with enthusiasm and shows us how to build architectural creations, and creativity and innovation.” This enthusiasm was not only limited to his classroom. Serving as Auditorium Manager for McClain Auditorium for over thirty years and working to build sets for the school musical from 1978-2008, Mr. Romanek’s presence was a vital part of Mamaroneck performances. Upon the conclusion of his time at the MHS, Mr. Romanek advises students to “Be kind, do your best work. Be ready for things that come up, that you have no control over.”


Jolita Guidaitis-Haigis:

School psychologist Jolita Guidaitis-Haigis has been in the Mamaroneck district for the past 16 years, spending eight years at Hommocks Middle School and then moving to Mamaroneck High School for the last eight years. Receiving the opportunity to work at both schools is something Mrs. Haigis has appreciated and she has loved and cherished her time at each location. Over the years she has spent in the district, Mrs. Haigis has helped countless students, all of whom are extremely grateful for her support. She describes working with MHS students as “an honor” and “hope[s] she has been a positive part of their experience” at MHS. She will miss her relationships with her students and colleagues, but is thankful for the MHS community and will treasure it forever.


Caterina DiBenedetto:

Caterina DiBenedetto first started working in the district in 2000, and at that time only worked part time. However, DiBenedetto soon fell in love with the place that she worked, eventually deciding to start working full time. Since then, she has worked in the Special Education Department, developing positive relationships with both teachers and students. Now that her time in the district is over, DiBenedetto states that she is “going to miss the relationships and the friendships she was able to nurture with other secretaries, teachers, students, and administrators.” As for the future, DiBenneto states, “I will always cherish and remember all the colleagues and friends and administrators I have met during my years at MHS, and all the support I have received along the way. I will always have that in my heart.”