SUNY New Paltz School of Education to honor area teachers for excellence
NEW PALTZ -- The School of Education at the State University of New York at New Paltz will award nine of the region's teachers with the 2005 Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 22, at a ceremony to be held at The Terrace Restaurant on the New Paltz campus.
Since 1984, the School of Education at New Paltz has collaborated with area school administrators and the Mid-Hudson School Study Council to recognize teachers in the Mid-Hudson Valley for being superior in their fields and endeavors.
"These individuals are truly award winning educators who have documented support from colleagues, school administrators, parents and community members, as well as students," said Dr. Robert J. Michael, dean of the SUNY New Paltz School of Education. "The School of Education is delighted to be able to honor these teachers from area schools."
As recipients of this award, each of the teachers will receive an honorary appointment as an adjunct clinical professor within New Paltz's School of Education. They will also be recognized at the Mid-Hudson School Study Council's Award for Excellence Dinner.
Nominations for outstanding teachers are made by school principals and district superintendents. The awards are given by the office of the dean of education at SUNY New Paltz based on recommendations from a review committee of education professionals. The winners are teachers who have demonstrated their commitment to teaching, to excellence and, most importantly, to children and their education.
Recipients of the 2005 awards are: Frances L. Bennet (Horizons-on the Hudson Magnet School, Newburgh Enlarged City School District); Valorey Cassidy (Clarkstown High School South, Clarkstown Central School District); Diane Gonzalez (Chestnut Ridge Middle School, East Ramapo Central School District); Gordon Hardy (Brewster High School, Brewster Central School District); James Krupp (Livingston Manor Middle School, Livingston Manner Central School District); Allison Miller (New Visions Program in the Career and Technical Education Center, Orange-Ulster BOCES); Michele Palmer (Rondout Valley Middle School, Rondout Valley Central School District); John Vassak (North Salem Middle School in the North Salem Central School District); Mary Ann Williams (Chancellor Livingston Elementary School, Rhinebeck Central School District).
Editors note: The following information was generated from materials of recommendation from each recipient's school district administration.
Frances L. Bennet teaches 2nd grade at Horizons-on the Hudson Magnet School in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. Mrs. Bennet received numerous letters of support from administrators, fellow teachers, parents, students, and former students, all citing her excellence in teaching and her ability to inspire others. Mrs. Bennet creates a child-centered environment in her classroom where all children feel supported and encouraged to take the risks necessary to learn. In the words of one of her second graders, "I feel that Mrs. Bennet is funny and happy to see us."
Valorey Cassidy teaches High School English including AP level courses for Clarkstown High School South in Clarkstown Central School District. "Professional, Knowledgeable and Dedicated" are the adjectives used to describe Ms. Cassidy by her colleagues at "South." They recognize her as a master teacher, who "brings a passion for English as well as a commitment to students to her daily work." Mrs. Cassidy recently retired after 27 years of teaching.
Diane Gonzalez teaches 7th grade Science in Chestnut Ridge Middle School in the East Ramapo Central School District. She is valued as an extraordinary teacher and role model, a devoted child advocate whose mission is to "ensure that every child feels safe, protected, respected, and encouraged throughout their lives." She is a 17-year veteran who is as passionate today about teaching as she was the first day she entered the classroom.
Gordon Hardy is the high school instrumental music teacher at Brewster High School and the Performing Arts Coordinator for the Brewster Central Schools in the Brewster Central School District. Dr. Gregory, the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, credits Mr. Hardy for "transforming the music program. We now have an orchestra, a marching band and a middle school musical that we did not have before his arrival." Mr. Hardy has distinguished himself as a teacher with a passion for his craft and as an inspiration to those he teaches. He challenges his students to not only nurture their musical talents, but he inspires them to become people who respect themselves and others.
James Krupp teaches 7th & 8th grade Social Studies for Livingston Manor Middle School in the Livingston Manner Central School District and has been doing so for the last 33 years. With no intention of retiring, colleagues and students laud Mr. Krupp as an enthusiastic professional who continually seeks out new challenges to enhance and enliven the teaching of history. As one colleague wrote, "He is no ordinary educator."
Allison Miller teaches college level English for the New Visions Program in the Career and Technical Education Center at Orange-Ulster BOCES. This program includes students enrolled in the New Vision Law and Government, Engineering, and Medical programs. Under her leadership, the New Vision Program has grown from 40 students to 85 for this past school year. She is recognized as a passionate educator, a tireless professional and dedicated to her students. In the words of a former student, "her hard-work, dedication, and compassion for students is what makes Mrs. Miller a wonderful human being, mentor, role model, and most of all, a terrific teacher."
Michele Palmer teaches 5th grade for the Rondout Valley Middle School in the Rondout Valley Central School District. A life-long learner as well as an extraordinary educator, she is known as a teacher who attends to her students' social development as well as their academic development. Mrs. Palmer is described aptly by one parent as "one of those rare people who come with an "old school" sensibility, a belief in character education, a commitment to core curriculum that will matter to her students in the long run, a love of reading and literature, and a true understanding of the soul of her students."
John Vassak teaches 8th grade Social Studies for North Salem Middle School in the North Salem Central School District. In his 40+ teaching career, he has never lost his enthusiasm or energy for teaching. Social studies, particularly American History is his passion, and this is communicated by his active engagement with every student who enters his classroom. Lisa Douglas, PTO Co-President wrote, "Mr. Vassak's leadership has inspired countless students to work hard, to be true and honorable, to care about the world and the people they share it with, and above all else, have a thirst for knowledge." He is an extraordinary educator.
Mary Ann Williams teaches 2nd grade for Chancellor Livingston Elementary School in the Rhinebeck Central School District. Mrs. Williams received many letters of support all describing her as an innovative, positive and energetic educator. Although she has been teaching for 34 years, Mrs. Williams continues to seek out the new and creative, integrating current material into lesson plans that inspire her students to learn. She is known as a compassionate teacher, who cares deeply about the children she teaches, a collaborator who involves parents in the learning process and a mentor to new teachers. Without a doubt, Mrs. Williams is a master teacher who makes an impact on those around her each and every day.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.