Superintendent Beth Hallett announced during Tuesday’s school committee meeting that Chip Clunie has been hired as the school’s new director of facilities and grounds. She then proceeded to celebrate Diane O’Neil as she heads off into retirement after 10 years as the school district’s director of facilities and grounds and 18 years overall as a Town employee. She will be moving off island to embark on this next chapter of her life, but will continue working and assisting Clunie until August 9.
“It is important to me to thank some people as I head into retirement,” O’Neil said during the meeting. “The Nantucket Schools are a very special place to me because of the people I have had the opportunity to work with, the challenges I faced, the accomplishments I was a part of, and the enormous number of lessons I learned during my time here. None of the work we do in life is done alone, and I will be forever grateful to the people who helped me and stood by me along the way.”
O’Neil previously served as the Town’s Chief Procurement Officer for eight and a half years before joining the school district. While serving as the Town’s CPO, she took care of Town buildings in need of upgrades and repairs because the Town was without a facilities director at that time.
“It is not always easy to understand the roles each of us play here to make everything work, but understanding where each of us is coming from is key to any worthwhile relationship,” O’Neil said. “As a leadership member I can honestly say that was sometimes the hardest thing to do, but probably the most important. At the end of the day, we are all really just trying to do our jobs.”
Superintendent Beth Hallett expressed her gratitude for O’Neil and her assistance and support for the schools here on island.
“We want you to know we will miss you very much but we also want to wish you all the best in your next adventure,” Hallett told O’Neil before gifting her a bouquet of flowers.
O’Neil thanked several of her now former colleagues including retired superintendent Michael Cozort and her entire facilities team.
“I am proud of my accomplishments here at NPS and my accomplishments while working with the Town. It filled my heart with joy and gratitude to be a part of those projects and to see them through to fruition. But the thing I am most grateful for are the relationships I have with all of you,” O’Neil said towards the end of her speech. “I am leaving you with the best team you could ever ask for.”
As for Clunie, he is excited for the opportunity to be the Nantucket Public School’s next director of facilities and grounds after serving as the Nantucket Elementary School’s building supervisor for the past 10 years.
As Clunie prepares for a much larger role in his 11th year in the school system, he looks forward to utilizing what he has learned from Diane O’Neil, who retired from the position at the conclusion of this school year after 10 years on the job.
“I’m excited. I’m excited for the opportunity,” Clunie said. “Working with Diane has been great. She has been a great help to me. She stayed on much longer, several weeks longer, to help me get going. I know I learned so much from her over the years and I know that if things come up, I can be and will be calling her.”
Clunie’s knowledge of the island and experience in the school system will be a welcomed addition. He was a member of the committee that helped get the Nantucket Intermediate School built, overcoming numerous challenges along the way with his colleagues while displaying an ability to communicate and work proficiently with all involved.
During Tuesday’s school committee meeting, O’Neil said that the district “could not be in better hands” when addressing Clunie's promotion to the position. She added that leaving the district with the facilities and grounds team that is in place with Clunie at the helm is “the best team (the community) could ever ask for.”