Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards 2010-2011

Posted on: April 28, 2011

Northampton Public Schools joins thirty-eight school communities in the Pioneer Valley to honor our teachers.  The purpose of the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards, in its eighth year, is to “honor outstanding professionals in the field of education, affirm them and tell them how much we appreciate their outstanding commitment to the children and families they serve and to express to them the hope that they will continue in the field of education.”

Each school district nominates teachers to be honored.  Celebrations are held at the Log Cabin and Meeting House to honor these outstanding educators.  Each teacher will receive, among other gifts, 2 tickets to the event, $500, an engraved plaque, a corsage, pictures of the event, a three-month membership to a local YMCA, and grants for course offerings by Channel 57, Westfield State University, Western New England College.

We are proud of our Northampton award recipients.

Angela Slowinski:  Grade 7 Special Education Teacher  JFK Middle School

First Year Teacher in Northampton Public Schools

Angela Slowinski

Angela was nominated because she works extremely hard to meet the needs of her students with differentiated instruction, pre-teaching and providing parallel instruction for the content areas.  Angela is a co-teacher who collaborates with her team of colleagues in Math, English and Science.  Angela is a wonderful advocate for her students, providing the support they need academically and socially while encouraging them to take responsibility for their own learning.  She puts students first in all she does.  She is a dedicated member of our professional learning community, sharing her knowledge of making modifications and accommodations for students.  She also chaperones dances, helps organize parent/guardian events, and works in our after-school program.  Angela communicates well and regularly with parents and guardians and encourages their involvement.  Angela has made significant contributions to the JFK Middle School in her first year.

Christa Chiarello:  Guidance Counselor, Guidance Department Chairperson

JFK Middle School

Christa Chiarello

Christa was nominated because she is a dedicated, caring and passionate counselor.  She is a wonderful advocate for and with her students.  She encourages her students to do their very best and supports their efforts in all ways.  She is a member of the School Council and has been instrumental in the development of our Advisory Program and participates in our Partners in Health collaboration with Smith College.  Christa is well-respected by her colleagues, students and parents/guardians.  She is available and accessible to encourage and has an incredible work ethic.  She is skilled as a mediator and problem solver and shares these important skills, teaching our “Let’s Get Real” Curriculum as a pilot program to our sixth graders.  Christa is a team player, always willing to take on anything asked of her.  She always puts students first and has been instrumental in developing a culture of caring and respect in our building and she is exceptional in all she does.

Jon Sass:  Math Teacher, Northampton High School

Jon Sass

Jon is a team player who always tries to do the best for his students.  He was a class advisor and is presently the advisor for the Gay/Straight Alliance.  Jon is an excellent and dedicated math teacher.  He is dependable and a member of the Northampton community.  Jon teaches by example, always professional, prompt and organized.  Jon is nurturing and caring, a proponent of diversity, a dedicated teacher and community member. He is committed to the Northampton Public Schools. His two daughters attended the high school. He is a chair on the NEASC accreditation team. He has the ability and willingness to work with a wide range of students whether in class or out of class. He is a team player and collegial.

Andrea Egitto:  Elementary Teacher, RK Finn Ryan Road Elementary School

Andrea Egitto

Andrea has been a teacher at Ryan Rd. for only six years, yet she has made a significant contribution professionally and personally during that time.  As a relatively new teacher, she has moved from grade to grade teaching kindergarten, first and second grade.  She has made these moves cheerfully and with wonderful professional energy, always becoming a valued colleague with her grade level peers through her willingness to collaborate and learn along with them.

Andrea’s professional commitment and energy is an inspiration to all of our staff.  Using her creative spirit and considerable skill, she has written numerous grants, almost all of which have been funded.  The grants have ranged from creating a schoolyard garden to involving her students in art projects inspired by a visit to the Smith College Art Museum.  She was the moving force behind our successful NEEP NEF Endowment Grant.  This particular grant, which involved every teacher in our school, allowed us over three years to develop field study nature guides for each grade level that were also shared with district teachers.  Writing, presenting, and managing the grant required a great deal of extra time and energy, something Andrea is always willing to pour into her teaching.

At the district level, Andrea served on the Strategic Planning Committee for several years and elected by her fellow teachers, she has served two terms on our School Council.  She has been an involved and effective member of both of these groups.

Finally, Andrea’s effectiveness and devotion to her young students as they begin their academic careers is without equal.  She figures out how to work productively with each and every child and family no matter the challenges.  She does this with good humor, inspiration, patience, and humility that earn her the respect of her follow teachers, as is evidenced by their nomination of her for this award.

Congratulations to all of our award recipients on a job well done.

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