NAUGATUCK — After more than two decades in Naugatuck, Hop Brook Elementary School Principal Evelyn Gobstein will retire.
Gobstein is retiring at the end of this month after 36 years as an educator, 24 of which were in the borough.
“We’re sorry to see her leave,” Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson said. “We wish her all the best in her retirement. The district is losing a committed and caring administrator.”
Although Gobstein, 57, from Middlebury, began her educational career in 1977, her desire to teach was instilled at a young age.
“My parents were both educators. So it seemed kind of natural for me, since I was a little girl playing in my basement with a slate board, to become a teacher,” Gobstein said.
Since that time Gobstein has gone on to work as an educator in many schools, including three in Naugatuck. At each school, Gobstein has always worked to make sure the children came first.
“I think my career is built around being a child advocate. I think making decisions in the best interest of children is the most important thing we can do as educators. So hopefully I have done that here. I think I have,” Gobstein said.
Gobstein said that working with children has brought her happiness throughout her career.
“Children are so much fun to be with. They brighten every day. They’re spontaneous. They’re inquisitive, creative. So every day is different when you’re an educator,” Gobstein said.
Her first job was teaching in Region 15, where she worked for four years. Gobstein then moved to Cedar Grove, N.J., where she taught third and fifth grades for three years.
In 1986 the opportunity to return to Connecticut presented itself and she became an assistant principal at Mary R. Tisko School in Branford.
“After doing that and having a great mentor there I decided it was time for me to begin my own career as a principal,” Gobstein said.
In 1989, she was hired as principal at Cross Street School, a position she held for 12 years.
Gobstein still has fond memories of her time as principal of Cross Street.
“I had a lot of fun there. It was my first principalship and we had an outstanding staff and parent group,” Gobstein said.
Leading the school wasn’t the only thing that Gobstein accomplished during her time at Cross Street.
“We built the community playground that’s at Cross Street School. That was one of our big things that we worked on for the community to enjoy,” Gobstein said.
In 2001 Gobstein stepped down from her role as principal in order to have more time to spend with her children. She continued to work in the borough as a reading consultant for five years.
“Then I got the call up again to do what I love most and was principal at Central Avenue School for six years,” Gobstein said.
Gobstein moved into the position of Hop Brook Elementary School principal after Central Avenue was closed last year.
“I’ve had a great year here. Awesome people here. Great team workers. They’re very dedicated, as all the teachers in Naugatuck are, to children,” Gobstein said.
Now that she is prepared to turn the reigns of the school over to her successor, Gobstein has begun looking towards the future.
“I am in the service field, I know I will do volunteer work. Whether it might be with the elderly, it might be at the Palace Theater because I like theater, it might be being a mentor here in Naugatuck. I would like to do that for a child. I think anything is possible,” Gobstein said.
However, before she jumps into her next activity, Gobstein plans to take some time to relax.
“For the first sixth moths I am just going to relax, regroup. Think about what I want to do for the next chapters in my life. I think you need that downtime just to process through what you want to do,” Gobstein said.
Looking back at over twenty years of working in the borough, Gobstein was happy where her career decisions had taken her.
“It’s been a great journey here in Naugatuck. They’ve got a great staff, volunteers that give graciously of their time and supportive community members,” Gobstein said. “Naugatuck has been good to me and I’ve been happy to have a big chunk of my career in Naugatuck.”