SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Colleagues recalled the kindness and dedication of a popular Memorial Middle School teacher who died suddenly this week.
Waterboro resident Greg Carter, 50, died Monday night.
“Everyone knew something was wrong when his car wasn’t here [Tuesday],” Kate Porter, a language arts and social studies teacher, said Wednesday.
Porter was Carter’s teaching partner; they taught the same 50 sixth-graders, and she said Carter was intensely dedicated to teaching, while maintaining a very composed nature.
“The students really respected Greg. He worked tirelessly to see their needs were met, and he will be missed tremendously,” she said.
Principal Megan Welter said Carter was in his second year at the school. He previously taught eighth graders at Mahoney Middle School for about three years.
“He was just so warm with the kids,” Welter said. “He never ever raised his voice; he was always so calm and so nice.”
She said Carter was routinely the first to arrive at the school each day, usually by about 6:15 a.m.
Counselors were at school Tuesday to speak with grieving students. Welter said the students’ responses showed a deep appreciation for Carter’s patience and kindness.
Andrew Gelman, who also teaches sixth-grade math and science, said he knew Carter for almost a decade, going back to when they taught at Greely Middle School in Cumberland.
He recalled Carter as a large, quiet man who loved his family, hunting and salt- and freshwater fishing. He was adept at tying his own flies and would fish at all hours to catch tides at Ferry Beach, Gelman said.
Carter and Gelman also led the middle school’s Eco Explorer club, which Welter said helped immigrant students who had never seen snow get outdoors for snowshoeing. Carter was also credited with constructing the school hiking trail and community garden.
He was also an adviser to about a dozen seventh-graders in a club called Connections.
Gelman said Carter was particularly dedicated to working with students with special needs and designed science courses for them at Greeley Middle School.
He was also a presence when local students attended Camp Kieve in Nobleboro. Gelman said he would bunk with the campers.
“He was a big guy, sleeping in the bunk beds,” Gelman said.
Welter said Carter’s teaching style stressed inclusion and involvement. When she visited his classroom, she said she often had to look around for him because he was typically working with students individually.
“He would put up a challenge for kids to work on together, and [he] was sort of the coach,” she said.
Inside Carter’s quiet persona was a surprisingly funny man, Welter said.
Carter is survived by his wife, Janet, and two children. Funeral arrangements were not available Wednesday.