By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG When the 2007-2008 school year ended, the 90 members of the Fallsburg Central School Class of 2008 received their diplomas at the commencement ceremony and began the next stage of their lives.
Fallsburg Athletic Director Janet Carey also began the next chapter of her life. Friday, June 27 was a bittersweet day for Carey as it marked the final day of her long and accomplished career as an educator and coach.
Carey, who taught math in Marcellus near Syracuse for a year before moving to the Liberty Central School District back in 1971, retired from the profession which has brought her many accolades and honors.
A native of Conklin, a small hamlet just south of Binghamton, Carey graduated from Susquehanna Valley High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and French at SUNY Oswego. While at Oswego, she participated in many physical education classes and intramural sports.
“Remember, this was a few years before Title IX,” she said of the landmark 1972 United States Supreme Court decision which forbids discrimination against girls and women in athletic programs at federally funded educational institutions. “I audited almost all of the phys. ed classes they had.”
She also fondly recalled the annual “play day” when girls from Susquehanna Valley and five other nearby school districts would spend the day playing volleyball.
During her years at Liberty, Carey also worked part-time after school, teaching a GED class at Sullivan County BOCES.
After spending 10 years at Liberty, Carey moved on to Jeffersonville-Youngsville Central School. In 1985, Carey became the Fallsburg boys’ and girls’ alpine ski coach and two years later was hired as a teacher in the district.
She has been at Fallsburg ever since. Carey has held the position of Fallsburg boys’ tennis coach for a number of years and the last three school years, she served as the district’s Athletic Director.
But Carey did not limit herself to teaching and coaching at the high school level.
In 1976, she became an assistant adjunct physical education professor at Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake. In addition, she was employed as the tennis pro and pool director at Brown’s Hotel in Loch Sheldrake from 1979 to 1989.
Among the numerous accolades Carey earned during her distinguished career included being listed in Who’s Who of American Teachers, Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who in America.
For the past 25 years, Carey has been a swimming instructor for the American Red Cross. In that capacity, she has taught dozens of young adults valuable lifeguard skills which they needed in order to accept lifeguard jobs at pools throughout Sullivan County.
“It’s great when kids who I taught to swim come back years later to become instructors in the program,” Carey said. “Some of our Fallsburg graduates from recent years who have returned to assist us are Amy Hobby, Megan Hobby, Kelly Hobby and Anthony Lee.”
Carey always preferred to stay busy during the school year as well. In addition to her coaching and teaching duties, she served on several Section IX and state athletic committees. She has been the Section IX Boys’ Tennis Chairperson, Section IX Boys’ and Girls’ Alpine Skiing Chairperson and a member of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Safety Committee.
Carey noted that before the 2007-2008 school year ended, she and dozens of athletic directors and coaches from high schools throughout the state attended a meeting where medical professionals updated them about the latest treatment procedures for young athletes who suffer concussions and other head injuries.
Janet Carey resides in Claryville with her husband, Cliff. They have three daughters, all of whom graduated from Tri-Valley Central School.
Colleen Carey, a Cornell University graduate, is now a 2nd Lt. in the United States Air Force. Christie Carey has a degree in Eastern Medicine and works with Dr. Barry Scheinfeld in Harris. Stacey Swornik is the psychologist at Tri-Valley Elementary School in Grahamsville.
While she will miss the hundreds of students she taught and coached over the years, Janet Carey is looking forward to retirement.
“My family members are very excited, they will finally get to see me more often,” she said with a smile.