More than 150 educators, related service providers, administrators and students interested in pursuing a career in education met Wednesday at The Desmond hotel in Albany for the first-ever “Celebration of Teaching and Learning”. The event was designed to not only honor exceptional teachers in our region but also to introduce high school students in Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene Counties to various careers and careers paths in education.
The event coincided with National Teacher Appreciation Week, and 40 teachers from 18 school districts and Questar III were nominated to attend and recognized with a certificate for their dedication to their craft.
“We can all point to teacher or educator who made a significant impact in our life – we often impact students in ways we will never know about. By celebrating the work that all our educators are doing, the role they play in developing the next generation of leaders and highlighting the numerous paths one can take on a career in education, we hope to inspire young people to pursue a career in this highly rewarding field,” said Questar III District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz.
The day-long program included keynote addresses from 2019 New York state Superintendent of the Year Dr. Jason Andrews of Windsor Central School District outside of Binghamton and the 2015 NYS Teacher of the Year, Charles Giglio. Attendees also took part in a panel discussion moderated by East Greenbush CSD Superintendent Jeff Simons and Hudson CSD Superintendent Dr. Maria Suttmeier.
“It’s really important that we build these pathways, that we have events like this one to get great people into the field of education because it’s just so critically important in everything we do. Our mission in schools is not to teach. What we exist for is to ensure that all students learn and learn at high levels,” said Andrews during his remarks.
After the morning keynote and panel discussion, students, educators, and representatives from local colleges and universities participated in a series of roundtable conversations focused on job responsibilities, career pathways, college preparation and what makes careers in education fulfilling.
Each educator and student received a copy of the book “Today, I Made a Difference”, a collection of inspirational stories from the country’s top teachers.
Averill Park CSD
Lizette Hicks – Math
Kara Pedersen – Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Heather Riccardi – Speech and Language Pathologist
Michelle Baldwin – High School Special Education
Dan Horst – Math Teacher
Neil Hanlon – PE & Health teacher
David Gori – Special Education Teacher
Heather Maassmann – CTE
Jeff Dudzic – High School Math Teacher
Mary Hatton – ESL Teacher at Catskill Elementary School
Randy Squier – Superintendent
Anthony Loughran – Science Teacher
Jessica Pray – School Counselor
Andrew Wager – Technology Teacher
Wendy McAlonie – Social Studies
Frank DiDonato – Mathematics
Jeff Simons – Superintendent
Sue Brown – Superintendent
Tammi Kellenbenz – President of BOE
Dean Hanson – HS Science
Dr. Shannon Miller – School Psychologist
Tammy Sutherland – Superintendent
Todd Hilgendorff – Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
Sheila Brady – 1-2 Teacher
Teresa Carlton – MS ELA teacher
Emily Karam – HS Special Education Teacher
Denise Hoag – High School Math teacher
Sarah Bushey – Elementary teacher
Dr. Maria Suttmeier – Superintendent
Alyssa Moore – Elementary teacher
Jack Beyer – Technology teacher
Christine Neumann – Math
Kelly Smith – Elementary
Leslie Whitcomb – Superintendent
Mike Veeder – CTE Teacher – HVAC
Courtney Galuski – Special Education – Reading Teacher
Tracy MacGiffert – Pre-K Teacher
Stacey Rattner – Library Media Specialist
Ed Finney – Social Studies
Rebecca Miller – Music
Linda Yasinski – SPED Teacher
Jamie Bowen – English as a new Language Teacher
Linda Fecura – Library Media Specialist
Sarah Sepp – Middle School Resource Room