“The Voice of Kearny” has signed off.
Diane Malley, who made the scene at the Kearny school district when she was still taking classes at Kearny High School, has retired after nearly four decades as a faithful employee.
Last Thursday was Malley’s last day at work, having most recently served as executive secretary in the superintendent’s office.
It was her voice that politely informed members of the school community about school cancelations or delayed openings, etc., via telephonic communications.
Due to her longevity in the school system and her intimate knowledge of its inner workings, “she was like a walking encyclopedia” of information about Kearny schools and personnel, noted colleague Gail Landi, who has worked with Malley in the BOE administrative offices.
It all started during her freshman year at KHS when she started helping out parttime in the school’s main office as a secretarial assistant to the then dean of students Robert Kirk. She kept track of daily student absentees, early dismissals cleared by the school nurse and teacher absences.
“After graduation, I was asked to stay on as a full-time employee,” Malley recalled. And she was happy to do that “because I enjoyed what I did.”
When she first started in her new role, Malley split her day between the district’s business office and the superintendent’s office but in May 1978, she was assigned full-time to the business department where she handled the athletic department account, ordering supplies and equipment, lining up referees, umpires, etc., for home games, and the like. She continued there for seven years.
It wasn’t long before Malley widened her range of support services, working the gate, collecting and selling tickets for high school football and basketball games and wrestling matches; along with recording and transmitting phone messages to parents and employees about snow days.
She also was assigned for some 20 years as secretary to the district’s Evening Adult School and later served as its assistant director for several years.
At KHS, she helped proctor Student Achievement Tests (SATs) for members of the junior class for more than a decade.
Malley spent two years helping track the dollars allocated to state and federal programs. Next came a 15-year stint helping maintain a list of available substitute teachers and then going down the list and calling in subs as needed on a daily basis.
In 1995, she was shifted to the then assistant superintendent of schools office for secretarial work.
When the BOE did away with the No. 2 administrator position and named Patricia Blood as superintendent in late 2014, Malley joined Landi to assist in that office.
Malley has “mixed feelings” about moving on. She’ll miss “the million friends I’ve made at my ‘home’ all these years but she’ll also welcome the opportunity for “babysitting my new grandchild.”
All of her daughters, meanwhile, have followed in her footsteps by entering the educational field – all in Kearny: one who has taught in Harrison the past two years is shifting to Kearny this fall; a second is a longterm substitute teacher; and a third is a full-time secretary at Franklin School.
Her parting words to all her friends and associates? “Have a great day!”
– Ron Leir