Mary Channing will be retiring after nearly 27 years as transportation coordinator for the Wilton Public School District this summer, Superintendent Kevin Smith announced at the Board of Education’s June 9 meeting.

“She knows more about Wilton than anybody I’ve ever met,” said Smith. “Mary is retiring from a long and very good career.”

Smith said Channing is “an example of someone who does a wonderful job” and as a thank-you for her years of service, presented her with a small token of gratitude — a small star — to help her “hopefully remember the good days.”

“We want to thank you so much and you will be missed,” Smith told Channing.

“I’m sure that all of you have some idea of transportation and what it involves, but you don’t know the whole story,” said Channing. “It’s not an easy life — I want you to know that.”

Channing said the logistics of routing may be hard, but she enjoys challenges.

“One thing I will not miss are those early morning phone calls,” said Channing. “Not only from Kevin, but from the police department saying a road’s been blocked.”

Channing took the time to acknowledge Student Transportation of America (STA) dispatcher Deborah Abbott and presented her with a thank-you gift.

“My daily interaction with the bus company would not have been the same if I didn’t have the opportunity to work with Debbie,” said Channing.

“Debbie has been working in the bus business far longer than I — having been in it for 43 years with just about every capacity that there is in the industry, and I can’t say enough about the partnership that we have.”

Even though Abbott is not an employee of the Wilton Public School District, Channing said, “we’ve always worked together as a team and I consider her a friend.”

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Debbie for everything she’s done for the students of Wilton,” she said, “because it’s always been about their safety.”