Return to Headlines

Heather Rivera Brings Pride and Passion to Her Role


The Unsung Hero is designated by Superintendent of Schools Lori S. Duerr to shine a well-deserved spotlight on individuals in the Falmouth Public Schools who make invaluable contributions to the district. 

Unsung Hero: Heather Rivera Brings Pride and Passion to Her Role 

By Sarah E. Murphy 

Heather Rivera describes Mullen-Hall School as her “happy place.” 

Heather Rivera sitting at her deskCurrently in her second year as administrative assistant to Principal Rose Moran, her connection to the school began when her first child, Logan, now an eighth-grader at Lawrence School, was in kindergarten. She began volunteering in his classroom at least once a week, offering her time for the next five years. 

However, juggling her night job in the restaurant business became increasingly challenging for Heather. 

“I tried switching to days, but that’s not ideal for restaurants, and that also meant I couldn’t volunteer anymore,” she said.  

When her daughter Brooklyn started kindergarten in 2018, Heather decided it was time for a permanent change.

“I loved working in the restaurant business. Up until then, it was the only job I ever knew. But I never got to see my kids, and I didn’t want to miss out on their childhood,” she said. 

At the advice of former Mullen-Hall Principal Nancy Ashworth, Heather decided to start substitute teaching to gain experience and get her proverbial foot in the door of education, which she did for the next year. When a newly created position for an Intervention Teaching Assistant at Mullen-Hall opened up, Heather applied and was selected for the role, which entailed providing coverage and support wherever needed. 

Heather was hired for her current role after her predecessor, Chris Medeiros, decided she too was ready to make a change, retiring after more than two decades in the position. 

“Chris is a legend. She was the heart of this school, right in the hub of everything. She took me under her wing when I first started and made sure I always felt included and appreciated,” Heather said. 

“She was a role model to me.”

For Heather, who graduated from Falmouth High School, but never attended the same elementary school for more than a year, Mullen-Hall is more than her place of employment, or the building where her daughter attends school. It’s a source of joy, inspiration, and validation. 

“I wake up every day ready to go, grateful to be here, and on my days off, there’s something missing,” she said. 

“I love these 381 kids, and the staff have become cherished friends. It’s wonderful to see how special this school is to so many people. The kids get an education but it’s so much more than that; it’s a family. I never had that sense of community when I was in elementary school.” 

Heather attributed much of that to her colleagues and their dedication.

“Everybody cares so much. They genuinely love kids, and the Mullen-Hall Makos, and we work really well as a team. We’re all on the same side, working collectively toward the same goal,” she said. 

To that end, she was quick to deflect attention from herself. 

“I’m honored to be recognized, but I’ve only been here a little while, and there are so many more deserving people in Falmouth Public Schools.” 

Special Education Secretary Janine Craft  believes Heather is one of those individuals. 

“She’s always ready to give one hundred and ten percent, in anything, whether it’s for a student, a staff member, or a parent. She’s a woman of many hats,” Ms. Craft said. 

Attendance Secretary Jo-Ann Brown credited the skill Heather brings to her position. 

“She’s so computer-savvy, and she can do anything you ask, because she’s so intelligent. She does so much, for everyone, with no complaints,” Ms. Brown said. 

“This recognition is definitely well-deserved.” 

Mullen-Hall Head Custodian C.C. Costa agreed. 

“Heather takes her job seriously. She puts it above everything; that’s just what she does,” Mr. Costa said. 

“She’s here early and she leaves late. She’s extremely dedicated.” 

Assistant Principal Jill Meserve highlighted Heather’s commitment, not only to the administrative front office team but to the entire community.

“Heather is invested in Falmouth Public Schools as a whole, not just as an employee, but as a parent and a PTO member, here at Mullen-Hall, and also at Lawrence School,” she said. 

“No matter what she’s asked to do, she always goes above and beyond, and she’s always one step ahead, adding some creative twist.” 

Mullen-Hall Principal Rose Moran is a daily witness to Heather’s work ethic and attention to detail. 

“She is talented, dedicated, and positive. Because she takes such pride in the job, no matter what you ask her to do, she puts everything into it, and that’s what makes her so amazing,” she said.

“She loves kids and she’s always kind. She thinks of others, she’s selfless, and she stays beyond her time, always. She just loves her job, and it shows in everything she does. We’re so lucky to have her.” 

Superintendent of Schools Lori S. Duerr underscored the sentiments of Ms. Moran and Ms. Meserve.

“Heather has been making a difference in Falmouth Public Schools since the first day she took the time out of her busy schedule to offer her talents as a classroom volunteer. Her contributions today are countless, extending beyond Mako Country to all of Clipper Nation,” Dr. Duerr said.

“Not only does she provide essential administrative support, she is also a trusted adult in the lives of our students, serving as a friendly face and a point of contact for social-emotional support each day. Her efforts with the PTO  have enriched the lives of countless students, not just her own children. That impact is immeasurable.” 

Sarah E. Murphy