Marry Parry, 2008

Mary Parry, former president of the Pentucket Association of Teachers, is the winner of the MTA Retired Members Committee's 2008 "Looking to Honor One of Our Own"contest.

The annual contest provides the opportunity for an active or retired member to be honored for his or her influence on behalf of students, beginning educators and association members.

Parry was nominated by Kathy Meltsakos, an education support professional who is a member of the Pentucket association.

"Mary Parry has organized, encouraged, guided and supported the ESPs from day one," Meltsakos wrote. "She has gone to the negotiation table many times to help the ESPs and teachers in our association.

"She is still very involved with the ESPs and currently chairs our unit and negotiation team, even though she retired a few years ago.

"Mary is also a former union president, who still dedicates countless hours to support ESPs, as well as teachers," Meltsakos continued. "She encourages professional development and advocates for it in our district. She is still a teacher; she's just not in the classroom anymore."

Meltsakos also said she considered Parry a mentor and a friend, noting that Parry "encouraged my union involvement, without ever pushing too much or expecting more from me than I was comfortable with."

"She has been building my confidence to a level where I am more involved with the union than I ever thought was possible," Meltsakos wrote, adding: "Mary would do this for anyone who would seek her advice, guidance and help. She is my teacher now and I am very grateful for the ability to call on her knowledge, experience, and friendship whenever needed."

Parry is still helping MTA members as a part-time retirement consultant. Meltsakos praised Parry's activities in her current position, calling her someone who "has the best advice and makes that part of retiring so much easier."

When Parry learned about the Retired Members Committee's decision to honor her, she gave all the credit to MTA members.

"Our members work so hard and are very dedicated,"Parry said. "I still enjoy assisting members of my former local and those MTA members who are thinking about retiring."