SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Assistant Superintendent Lydia Martinez-Alvarez has announced her plans to retire after 28 years in the public school system.

Martinez-Alvarez began her career as a substitute teacher and worked her way up to become the district’s first Latina assistant superintendent in 2012. She was hand-picked for the role by Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick, who called her departure “a great loss for the district.”

“It has been my honor and my pleasure to serve the staff and students of Springfield Public Schools. In many ways, the very idea of retirement from the district seems surreal because the children of Springfield Public Schools and their future has been the focus of my life for so long,” said Martinez-Alvarez. “But the time has come for me to shift that focus to my other family and our best interests, knowing that I will forever cherish the work I’ve done on behalf of Springfield’s youth and that I will never stop loving them.”

Martinez-Alvarez said her retirement becomes effective in the coming weeks.