Every staff member under his direction; his tireless energy and deep caring for the work he loved.
“Nothing difficult is overwhelming when it’s what you love to do,” the priest reflected.
But the administrator was not motivated by recognition, Giuliano continued. Instead, he was driven by a strong work ethic that translated into long days and weekends on the job. Giuliano said the superintendent would arrive at his office before 6:30 a.m. every morning, attend board of education meetings, committee meetings and other school activities to fulfill his role.
Masse had “an amazing memory,” said his successor, recalling a particular school board meeting where Masse recounted the date of a meeting five years earlier and even quoted the minutes. A board member’s research into the issue afterward confirmed that the superintendent had his facts – including the date and quotation – straight.
Giuliano said efforts Masse made to improve the quality of education in the city continue to ripple out into the community. A recent visit to the school district by an assessment team produced glowing reports about two programs Masse advanced: advanced placement and community volunteerism. Giuliano said the advanced placement program grew from four offerings in the early ’70s to 13 at the time of Masse’s retirement. In addition, the late administrator was credited with shepherding a recognized volunteer program.
During the eulogy, Giuliano recited a long list of achievements that continue to enhance the school district thanks to Masse’s attention and promotion. Masse led the way in bringing back public kindergarten in the city, initiated a long-range capital-improvements plan that has resulted in renovation and expansion of school buildings that will be completed next year.
In 1990, after Masse was named Superintendent of the Year, he was quoted in an article as saying he shared the credit. “Recognition goes beyond one person,” Giuliano recalled Masse saying.
Masse was named Citizen of the Year in 1995 and received the Humanitarian of the Year award in 2002, Giuliano added.
During the service, Masse’s wife, Catherine, and son, Paul, were presented with a portrait of Masse that will be hung in the school district office. Masse’s daughter, Nicole, was unable to attend the service.
In closing remarks, Giuliano noted how pleased Masse would have been to have a scholarship established in his memory. He also expressed a shared feeling of gratitude for the late administrator.
“Thank you, Berard. We’re all better for having known you and we will miss you,” Giuliano said.
Masse also set another precedent, Giuliano recalled: In 1995, the year he retired, the central administration building was named The Berard Masse Central Administration Building, making Masse the first person in the city to have a building named after him while he was still living.