“I don’t think it matters how long you serve, he said. “It’s what did you do in those years?”
In a letter to the board, McGeney noted that Liacos had a hand in bringing about “free full-day kindergarten, full-time nurses at every school and the construction of two new elementary schools. As a city councilor, he was supportive of construction of a new Higgins Middle School.
Liacos also supported the effort to build a new Peabody High School a decade or so ago, when the state was contributing 66 percent to such projects. The effort failed, and the current school was renovated instead, a move that even some who favored renovation now consider a mistake.
His dedication to education wasn’t accidental. Liacos worked as a teacher, first at Essex Aggie and then at North Shore Community College.
McGeney noted as much in his letter, writing, “Perhaps Jim Liacos’ greatest contribution ... is the time he spent as a mentor to many of his junior colleagues.” He was “a natural teacher.”
City Councilor Mike Garabedian, who served on the school board with Liacos, recalled that it was he and Liacos who first lured McGeney into running for the board. With all the work Liacos has put in, the councilor said, “He should get a highway named after him. I’m all for it. Jim has given back to the community. ... He’s just a solid guy.”
Councilor Anne Manning-Martin, another former school board member, declined to comment, saying she first wanted to research the street-naming process and discuss the matter with Liacos.
Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at email@example.com.