Emotional goodbye for N.J. teacher after decades at school

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During most of the last 54 years, 65-year-old Liz Martino has been a constant at Westfield Friends School in Cinnaminson either as a student, parent or teacher. And now she's retiring, after more than five decades. (WPVI)

During most of the last 54 years, 65-year-old Liz Martino has been a constant at Westfield Friends School in Cinnaminson either as a student, parent or teacher. And now she's retiring, after more than five decades.

"It's my identity. It really is who I am. I don't really know me as anything but this," said Martino.

Most recently, she's been teaching fourth grade in the same classroom where she sat as a student, and says the Quaker school has shaped her life.

"It's a family connection, a bond that cannot be broken," said Martino.

Her students will tell you Mrs. Martino is tough, but fair.

"Yes, she's strict, but she's also awesome and nice," said Wentworth Smith, student.

"If like we're struggling in math, her humor like makes us laugh and get through it," said Ben Girgis, student.

Martino says teaching is exhausting and demanding, and about much more than just academics.

"The life lessons. Manners. Grammar. How do you present yourself?," said Martino.

"When you hear the children here say they feel bad for the third-graders and everyone else who won't get to have her, that says a lot about who she is as a teacher," said Tracy Johnson, parent.

She was given flowers and a standing ovation at the school's annual awards day.

Mrs. M, as she's known, is clearly a beloved figure here at Westfield and after more than 50 years connected to this school, it's hard to leave.

"Unbearable, but I have a job," said Martino. "And it's my mom."

Martino will be caring for her 98-year-old mother, Maudie, who lives with her and her husband, Tommy.

It's clear Martino is one of those teachers who've brought joy and passion to her job and the people at Westfield will never forget her.

Related Topics:
educationnew jersey newsteacherretirementCinnaminson
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