Gene Constantino will walk in to Lynn Classical High School on the first day of school this year, just as he has done for the past 37 years of his career in the Lynn school system.
But this time, he is going in to simply say goodbye to all the students whom he has overseen as principal and the staff and faculty with whom he has worked.
Constantino, who was Classical principal for the last nine years and once the girls basketball coach for 19 years, begins his new job Monday as assistant principal of St. Mary’s High School.
Constantino’s decision caught many in the Lynn school system by surprise. He was set to retire from Classical at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, but when the St. Mary’s assistant principal’s position opened, Constantino applied for it, and he was selected.
“I thought I would wait until the end of the year to retire [from Classical], but the opportunity to work at St. Mary’s, to apply for that job – and knowing [Principal] David Angeramo and [Director of Athletics] Jeff Newhall, I decided to go for it,” said Constantino. “It was a tough decision to leave Classical. It happened quickly. But the opportunity to work at St. Mary’s was too good to pass up.”
Constantino said he will miss his daily interactions with the staff, faculty, and students at Classical.
“Classical is a great school,” said Constantino. “I’m going to miss a lot of the people, especially the kids. I think the kids were amazing.”
He is proud of his accomplishments at Classical, a school that has grown steadily in enrollment to more than 1,700 students.
“I think we did very well for what we had,” said Constantino. “I had a tremendous staff. I had a great administrative team, Amy Dunn, Dennis Thompson, and Chris Warren, who were the vice principals. I had unbelievable department heads and guidance counselors. The teachers made connections with kids. It’s a great place to work. It’s a fun place to work. The kids respect the teachers. The teachers respect the kids.”
Warren, who previously served as head softball coach at Lynn Classical, said Constantino was “a very good friend” who was universally respected and known for his presence at school and athletic events.
“Gene was more than a boss – I consider him a very good friend,” said Warren. “I will miss working with him every day. I would always joke with the incoming freshmen that he was cloned. He was at so many school events, I thought he had a double. He always supported me as a coach and as a vice principal. I learned so much from him, most of all to make connections with all the students. He loves what he does and his passion would spread throughout our staff.”
Classical girls basketball head coach Tom Sawyer said that Constantino’s support of the Rams’ sports team was noteworthy.
“Gene was a tremendous supporter of all the teams at Classical,” said Sawyer. “It was great for the kids and the coaches to see how much he invested of himself, especially his time, in the Classical athletic programs. As a former coach himself, he understood the role athletics play in high school and the many life lessons that athletics can teach. The Classical girls basketball program and I personally as the coach were especially fortunate for Gene’s dedication to the Classical student-athletes.”