Carla Morano leaves important legacy at Jack & Jill Preschool
Carla Morano, right, who is retiring as director of Jack & Jill Preschool in North Oxford, is joined by her sisters Carrie Cross-Tiraboschi and Candy Lirange at a celebration of Ms. Morano’s contributions to the school on May 7th.
By ROD LEE
Something of a fuss is being made about Carla Morano’s imminent retirement as director of the Jack & Jill Pre-School in North Oxford—appropriately so.
Ms. Morano is the daughter of Betty Cross Fisher, who founded the school fifty-eight years ago—in 1965. What began as Ms. Cross Fisher’s belief that kids in Auburn and Oxford should be able to go to kindergarten when there were no such programs in the public schools at the time has grown into a much larger operation.
Housed at The First Baptist Church on Main Street, the school started with a first class of less than a dozen. Ms. Morano’s sister Candace “Candy” L. Lirange was in that first class. Today there are sixty-five students—three, four and five year-olds—from fourteen different towns, and a staff of twelve. There is also a waiting list for admittance.
Education is a cornerstone of Ms. Morano’s family’s public life. Her sister Candy Lirange is a Spanish teacher at Oxford High and runs a Spanish program for preschoolers at Jack & Jill. Ms. Morano’s husband Rocco J. Morano is a retired elementary-school principal.
“So many kids have gone through that school, six of us,” Ms. Lirange said.
Ms. Morano was treated to a sendoff at Oxford High School on Sunday, May 7th. She was recognized too at a meeting of the Oxford Board of Selectmen. “The chairman of the Board of Selectmen came here and members of the Oxford Police Department were at the meeting and their children went to Jack & Jill too,” Ms. Morano said from her office on May 16th.
“This year alone we have so many parents who were students here. One teacher, half of her class went here.”
Ms. Morano’s involvement with the Jack & Jill Pre-School, and her family’s, is pretty special. All three of Ms. Morano’s children attended, as did other family members. Ms. Morano started as a teacher at Jack and Jill in 1988 and took over as director in 1998, following four others who had held the position.
“It definitely has grown,” Ms. Moran said, of the school. “At one point we had one hundred thirty-two students but some parents wanted longer days than we were able to offer them.
“I feel like it’s a very special place here,” she said. “Such harmony with the staff and the parents. We just had a fancy dance at Oxford High and the parents put so much energy into it.”
Ms. Morano’s children are now 45, 44 and 39 “and they definitely have that pride” of having attended Jack & Jill, she said. “Schools tell us which kids went to Jack & Jill. The state of education is always changing. We want our own students to have an edge and be fully confident and go off to further learning with strong skills.”
Retirement “will be bittersweet, but it’s time and time for new ideas.”
As for her own future plans, “I enjoy gardening, reading and we are go to do some traveling. I don’t know what my next chapter will be but I’m a high-energy person.
“I’ve always had a dream of working with children.”
Addressing the mark that Carla Morano has left on the school, Jane Toner said “she has had a considerable influence in her role as director, meeting the needs in the community at an accredited, safe and nurturing place for preschool children to thrive.”
In fact, Ms. Morano points out that “we are licensed by the state and also nationally accredited. We were just re-accredited for another five years, that’s a high pinnacle to achieve. There are not too many schools around that have that distinction.”
The school’s relationship with The First Baptist Church has been integral to its success.
“It has been a good partnership, because we like supporting each other. We have the whole downstairs.”
Melissa Borgeson, who has been on the staff of Jack & Jill Preschool five years, has been in training and will succeed Ms. Morano as director.”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.