Sally J. Mucica
She Made a Difference in Many Lives
On July 5, 2015, a beloved Reading teacher of 39 years passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Sally Mucica’s stellar teaching career spanned four decades from 1974 – 2015. Sharing her amazing gifts of spirit, humor, passion, generosity, and deep love for children, Mrs. Mucica made a tremendous difference in the lives of hundreds of Reading students and families. Even after her retirement from the Reading Public Schools in 2013, Mrs. Mucica continued to serve as a reading intervention specialist at the Lawrence Community Day Charter School.
Mrs. Mucica’s successful career as a teacher in Reading has been marked by many wonderful accomplishments. As a recipient of the Arnold Berger “Teacher of the Year” Award, she initiated several programs that are still being implemented across the district today. Sally was instrumental in establishing “Young Author’s Day” a tradition that supports children’s writing, and results in every student publishing at least one book every year. Hundreds of children have created an entire collection of their published books and save them as treasured keepsakes. Mrs. Mucica had a passion for learning that she instilled in her students each day.
Mrs. Mucica was a staunch advocate for those with unique learning needs. She had a special place in her heart for struggling students and she spent many of her summers working in the Reading Extended School Year Program, reaching out to students with different learning needs. She appreciated each child for his or her gifts and talents. They knew she loved and cared deeply for them.
Sharing her own educational experience with aspiring new teachers was a passion of Sally’s. Countless student teachers, interns, and newly hired teachers have benefitted from Sally’s professional expertise. She willingly mentored and encouraged new teachers, supporting each in his or her decision to pursue what she passionately believed to be the noblest of all professions. One former colleague wrote, “Just as you have done with every student you have ever taught, you have taught me, fostered independence, and given me the skills I need to stand on my own. Thank you, Sally, for your constant encouragement and guidance. Thank you for making me a better teacher.”
Always striving to better herself for the good of her students, Sally nurtured a never-ending need to learn, and improve her own skills. She furthered her education by earning multiple degrees in education, special education, and most recently, she earned her EdS degree and became licensed as a Reading Specialist. After her retirement from teaching, she completed a rigorous training program to become certified as an Orton-GIllingham reading tutor. She also knew American Sign Language and successfully incorporated it into daily lessons for all of her students. During her illustrious career, Mrs. Mucica was a champion for character education, being among the first to institute Teaching Peace, the Responsive Classroom, and Open Circle programs.
Friends, family, and former students remember Sally Mucica as a deeply devoted teacher and giving friend. Said one friend, “Sally always had a kind word for everyone, and eagerly shared her knowledge and experiences with everyone.” Others commented, “There was no limit to her kindness and her concern for those who were fortunate enough to have Sally as a friend.” Generations of Reading Public school children fondly remember their special teacher, Mrs. Mucica. One student posted on social media that “You’ll always be my #1 favorite teacher of all time! Wherever I have lived and traveled on this entire planet, the snake book you gave me in second grade has always been there with me. You will be missed but never forgotten.”
Mrs. Mucica has touched the lives of hundreds of students, parents, colleagues, and friends. She had a way of recognizing the special talents in others and made them feel unique and special. Mrs. Mucica was one of those rare gems that knew innately what made a child “tick”, and would work tirelessly to make each individual feel celebrated. Said one student, “(Mrs. Mucica) was nice to everyone, no matter who they were. She was the best at making people happy and making learning fun.”
Some people leave an imprint so deep that they reach your soul. Sally Mucica was one of those people. Her wit, creativity, and endless compassion are admired and cherished by all who have shared the privilege of having Sally Mucica in their lives. Quite simply, Sally J. Mucica made a difference in hundreds of lives over the course of her exceptional teaching career.
A scholarship in her name is being established through the Reading Scholarship Foundation. To donate to the Sally Mucica Scholarship Fund, visit their website at http://readingsf.org/HomePage.aspx or mail to:
Reading Scholarship Foundation, Inc. PO Box 492, Reading, MA 01867.
Please specify that the donation be for the Sally Mucica Scholarship Fund. Visit our Facebook page “Smiles for Sally.”