LANCASTER — Michelle Currier is active, having been involved in recreation and many facets of the community her entire life.
“In town, I’d be ‘that mom that knows things,'” Currier said. She is Director of Recreation, Substitute Teacher at Mary Rowlandson Elementary School, Vice President of Lancaster PTO, Treasurer of Lancaster Youth Baseball and Softball, and involved in her fifth and seventh grade children’s activities.
In the unlikely event that she doesn’t have an answer to a question, she knows who does.
Currier joined the recreation committee as a volunteer in 2020. She often participated in recreational events and “wanted to lend a hand to help create new activities for the community.”
When the Recreation Director position opened up, she was invited to apply and began her new role as a part-time municipal employee in January.
“My parents were involved in hobbies for many years while I was growing up and I wanted to continue that for my own children,” she said. She has “a strong ideal of what the leisure service can be”.
But it took some time before Currier realized that working for the community was his calling.
Currier graduated from UMass-Dartmouth in 2002 with a degree in accounting and from the University of Phoenix in 2006 with a degree in management information systems. She worked in corporate accounting and dreamed of implementing enterprise software for an accounting software company. After the birth of her children and her dismissal in 2009, Currier became a stay-at-home mom and a football coach.
It was the 2018 elementary PTO lip-sync event that boosted his enjoyment of participating in community events.
“It was way out of my comfort zone,” but it “made me realize how much I love working with community members and how together we can really make things happen.”
“Throughout (my) volunteer opportunities, I have learned to love and appreciate our community much more. I love being able to help provide safe and fun opportunities for my children and their friends,” she said.
She dipped her toes back into paid work in 2019 with a season at Davis Farmland. Currier began substitute teaching in early 2021 and has been on staff throughout that school year as a learning liaison, assisting quarantined and COVID-positive students. Recently, she became a kindergarten to second grade teacher’s aide.
She said she “never would have imagined the road I would be on now” if someone had asked her when counting money was her job.
Currier grew up in Lancaster, a third-generation Lancastrian on her father’s side. Her mother’s family and Currier’s husband are from Clinton. Many members of their extended family still live in both towns. Currier briefly moved to Leominster, but happily returned to Lancaster when she had the opportunity as she wanted to raise her children there.
“Lancaster is my home,” Currier said, and “really is the best place to grow up.”
She wants to build relationships with other city departments, community groups and other recreation departments in the area.
“The best part of this job is working with the community. I love talking to people about their interests and what they would like to see happen in town. It’s a great feeling to host an event and see the smiles of people enjoying it,” Currier said.
She added: “(The Recreation Committee) has been a great sounding board for coming up with and implementing ideas and has been amazing as a volunteer.”
While the pandemic has caused “a whole host of challenges,” Currier is now bringing back past events and programs — and launching new ones.
This includes popular events like fishing clinics, a city-wide garage sale, music lessons, and an all-new end-of-summer party.
This time of year, the city beach on Spec Pond is its main focus. Snack bar, paddle board rentals and swimming lessons are back. Eventually, Currier would like to bring back a wharf, like there was when she was a child, just to the left of the roped-in area where the water is deeper. She said it would allow swimming lessons for older children and help young adults come back.
She also plans to make improvements to the beach house.
Currier took self-guided courses in grant writing and got advice from the new director of city planning on how to find available grants to advance the Thayer Park plan.
In the near future, she would like to increase programming for all ages.
“I think the sky is the limit with recreation right now and people need events more than ever to get out of the house and come together as a community,” she said.
In his spare time, Currier enjoys… hobbies. She can often be found at a ballpark, walking around and sitting around a fire with her family and friends.
Currier does not have a municipal office, but can be reached by phone at (978) 365-3326, ext. 1083, by email at [email protected], and on the Lancaster Recreation Facebook page.