School District Honors Educators Of The Year At Breakfast

Elizabeth Avenue School principal John Haney honors Donna King, a school paraprofessional, during the breakfast ceremony.

Nearly 40 of the school district’s teachers and educational service professionals were honored November 3 at a special breakfast.

For some, the ceremony was a year in the making.

The district has been honoring its Teachers and Educational Service Professionals of the Year with a special breakfast since John Ravally became schools Superintendent in 2015. The ceremony could not be held last year because of the pandemic.

So this year, 39 honorees for school years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 were recognized during the ceremony at The Marigold on Hamilton Street.

Among the speakers at the event was Board of Education president Nancy LaCorte, who listed several characteristics shown by the educators honored that day. Among them were that the they worked collaboratively, they loved their children and they were able to adapt to the virtual teaching environment over the past year.

“We really, really sincerely thank you for everything that you do in a normal year, but you guys have managed to do this in such an unusual time,” she said. “You’re the shining stars of our district and we are all very proud of you.”

Nicolas DiMeglio, chairman of the Franklin Township Public Schools Parent Organizations Presidents Council, told the honorees that his organization appreciates “how our teachers and SP played a large role in our students well-being and long-term success.”

“You all truly shine,” he said. “You stepped up during the pandemic and settled right in.”

Ravally said the program “is to give them their due and honor them for their accomplishments.”

“Each of our honorees made significant contributions to their individual schools, so we’re really excited to highlight some of their accomplishments,” he said.

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate live-streamed the event in two segments. Below is a compilation video comprised of both segments.:

The 2019-2020 honorees were:

SchoolTeacherEd. Service Professional
Franklin High SchoolMaj. Jacqueline Vazquez (Ret.), JROTCHeather Danberry, School Counselor
FMS @ Hamilton StreetColleen Begley, Special Ed. MathDouglas Walton, Paraprofessional
FMS @ SGSMelanie Tolud, Grade 6 SciencePrecious Acolatse, School Counselor
Claremont ElementaryLeticia Surenko, Special EducationMaureen Zgorzelski, Paraprofessional
Conerly Road SchoolSusan Machover, 1st Grade ICRAndrea Antonoff, Academic Support
Elizabeth Avenue SchoolLauren Wojcik, KindergartenDonna King, Paraprofessional
Franklin Park SchoolTracy Molinari, Special EducationNouha Habeiche, Paraprofessional
Hillcrest SchoolMelanie Nichols, Science SpecialistMary Melito, Math Coach
MacAfee Road SchoolNicole Ruggiero, KindergartenCharlotte Glassen, Paraprofessional
Pine Grove Manor SchoolKimberly Buchinski, Pre-KIrene Fisler, Speech Therapist

The 2020-2021 honorees were:

SchoolTeacherEd. Service Professional
Franklin High SchoolPeter DiMarco, ELA 9th-12thSheronda Martin, ELA Coach
FMS @ Hamilton StreetDanielle Bills, ELA 8th GradeRupal Patel, Paraprofessional
FMS @ SGSJesseca Gonzalez, Special EducationDr. Rosemary King, ELA Coach
Claremont ElementaryPamela Lack, Special EducationMaribeth Virzi, Nurse
Conerly Road SchoolJoy Kuchinsky, Special EducationNone
Elizabeth Avenue SchoolJessica Horner, LLD TeacherJudy Lapczynski, Paraprofessional
Franklin Park SchoolJoanna Crespo, 4th GradeLouise Ahern, Paraprofessional
Hillcrest SchoolJared Sheffrin, AISDenise Solovay, Literacy Coach
MacAfee Road SchoolKathryn Freeman, 4th GradeLouise Velez, Paraprofessional
Pine Grove Manor SchoolCynthia Gaspar, 1st Grade BILJanet Timari, Paraprofessional

Here are some scenes from the day:

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