Brad Tilley took a final walk through the halls of Lynn Tech last Wednesday, stopping at the different shops and offices to say good-bye. It was an emotional day for the beloved teacher who loved teaching at Tech.
Tilley, a teacher, coach, and athletic administrator in the Lynn school system for 34 years, spent his last day in his position as a physical education teacher at Tech on Dec. 23.
“It’s going to be unusual waking up on Jan. 4 and not having to be at school,” said Tilley. “What I liked most about being a teacher was the kids. You give so much to your profession but you get so much back. The students are really appreciative of how you’re trying to help them every day.”
A personable man with a magnetic personality, Tilley could relate very well to the student-athletes in Lynn because he was once in their shoes. He graduated in 1967 from Lynn English High School where he was a member of the football and swimming teams. He played on a New England championship lacrosse team at UMass/Amherst, receiving his degree in Physical Education.
Upon his return to Lynn after college, Tilley took a job driving heavy equipment. When an industrial arts teaching position opened at Breed Junior High, Tilley accepted it and began his career in education. He later obtained his degree in Tech Education from UMass/Boston.
Tilley taught at Breed for three years and at Pickering for 20 years before becoming the athletic director, intramural director, and physical education teacher at Fecteau-Leary. He has been a coach at Lynn Tech for 34 years, heading the swimming and lacrosse teams, and serving as assistant in the football program. He will continue on as the head swimming coach and hopes to return to the football program next fall.
Tilley has been a physical education teacher for the past six years at Tech.
“Under the leadership of Mr. Ridley, Tech is the best I’ve ever seen it,” said Tilley. “The kids are respectful. There’s no trouble going on here. It is just one of the safest environments now. I’m so proud to be a teacher here. Tech is a great place to be.”
Tilley also praised former Superintendent of Schools Nick Kostan for his efforts as the former leader of the Lynn school system.
“Nick Kostan did a great job and really reached out to give all the students in Lynn a positive educational experience,” said Tilley. “And our current superintendent [Catherine Latham] is carrying on that tradition of excellence. She is really caring about what happens in this school system.”
He’s enjoyed his day-to-day association with Tech Athletic Director Edward Shadoff. “We’ve had a great relationship,” said Tilley, who will be succeeded by girls basketball coach Kevin McDormand as assistant athletic director. “It’s a real good way to end my career. We have great coaches here.”
Ridley, a Tech alumnus and school principal since Feb., 2008, thanked Tilley for his tireless efforts on behalf of the entire school community.
“I want to thank Mr. Tilley for being part of the staff and being part of the people who welcomed me to Tech with open arms,” said Ridley. “He worked tirelessly to make sure that the fieldhouse and all the physical education programs were working efficiently, including the pool area. Being a teacher and a coach here, he was fully invested and he shows it through his attitude and the kids show it back to him with their respect and the work ethic they gave him. We were very lucky to have someone like Brad Tilley work in the Lynn school department because over the 30-plus years, he’s been a coach, a mentor, and a friend.”
Head football coach Gary Sverker said his friendship with Tilley dates back to high school when they played sports for opposing schools. Both Sverker and Tilley also coached together at North Reading before reuniting in the Tigers’ program that won the state vocational title this season.
“Brad Tilley is a dedicated professional guy who’s been loyal to the coaching staff,” said Sverker. “The kids have always been the most important thing for him. He takes an interest in all the kids and makes sure they’re doing the right thing.”
Tilley and his wife, Susan, reside in Hamilton. They have two children, Justin, 26, an emergency medical technician, and Kyle 22, who works at General Electric. Justin played college baseball at UMass/Dartmouth while Kyle played lacrosse at Union College.
Shadoff summed up the feelings of those who have worked with Tilley at Tech and those who have been one of his students or players.
“Brad Tilley was a dedicated teacher and someone who was a credit to the teaching profession,” said Shadoff. “He is universally admired at this school. I wish him the best of health in his retirement. He’s already on top of the world because he has a lovely wife and two wonderful sons.”