Excellence In Education: Living our Guiding Principles Awards – April and May winners announced

Home E CES Stories E Excellence In Education: Living our Guiding Principles Awards – April and May winners announced
Article Author: Martha Maloney
Publication Name: Collaborative for Educational Services
Article Date: July 14, 2022
Article URL:

The Collaborative for Educational Services is pleased to announce the April and May winners of our regional Excellence in Education:  Living our Guiding Principles Award!  We honor those educators across the DYS workforce who embody one or more of the Guiding Principles including: College, Career, and Civic Readiness; Culture and Purpose; and Social Justice and Equity, central to the organization’s mission to improve the academic and life outcomes for the youth they serve.

May 2022

 Kristin Loiko is West Excellence in Education award winner

I am pleased to announce that our May winner of the Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles Award is teacher Kristin Loiko Tetrault from the RISE program! 

Kristin was nominated by both co-workers and students. The nomination comes from her work in the areas of Social Justice and Equity as well as Culture and Purpose. As one student wrote: “Ms. Kristin always makes me feel like I matter in the class and makes me work hard.” 

A colleague wrote, “Kristin is dedicated to her students and her practice and works every day to make sure students see themselves in what they are learning and why it is important.” 

Congratulations Kristin!

Alex Lombard is Metro Excellence in Education recipient

Congratulations to our May Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles award winner –  Alex Lombard!  Some of the things Alex’s peers highlighted in their nominations included:

“Alex works hard in his math and financial literacy classes to ensure students feel a personal connection to the material and understand its importance within a larger context.”

“He has an excellent relationship with all students which allows him to have frank discussions and give meaningful advice.”

“I know the students appreciate his efforts and many have said that his classes are their favorites.”

“He has an excellent relationship with all students which allows him to have frank discussions and give meaningful advice.”

“He takes the time to not only teach the specifics of how a student can use credit cards responsibly to grow credit, but also to talk about delayed gratification and personal responsibility.”

Alex exemplifies our Guiding Principle of Culture and Purpose and we are proud to have him as a colleague in Metro.

Congratulations to Alex!

Team Northeast Excellence in Education recipient for May is Dawn Perron

Please join me in congratulating Dawn Perron, Teaching Coordinator at STRIVE, for being recognized by her peers for her Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles.  Her peers share that Dawn supported all of CES’s Guiding Principles in her work:

College and Career Readiness – Students apply critical thinking and problem solving skills, exploring and transferring knowledge with the Science Fair held every year.  This is an excellent hallmark of students’ STEM learning in the school. Dawn raises the bar in student content learning.  Work is never dumbed down.

Social Justice and Equity – Dawn reminds students of their goals and elicits progress towards them everyday with self directed learning experiences and individualized lessons.  Carefully, she nudges them along, even on days they do not want to work.

Culture and Purpose – Diverse groups of students are easily managed by Dawn, who is always smiling.  Even when suggesting appropriate school language and behaviors.  Student voices are always heard and respected, and her suggestions are well received.

Congratulations, Dawn, for this well earned recognition!

Southeast Excellence in Education award recipient for May is Rebecca Gifford

Please join us in congratulating Rebecca Gifford as May’s recipient of the Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles Award.  Rebecca was nominated by Danielle Nasuti for her work in the principle of College, Career and Civic Readiness.  Danielle had this to say about Rebecca:

“I would like to recognize Rebecca Gifford for working to ensure educational services are available to all students at Douglass Academy, in spite of some staffing challenges faced this year.  Rebecca manages to plan for multiple classes per day to meet the educational needs of all of her students while continuing to do her TC duties, co-planning two classes and staying up to date on learning teams.  Besides all of this, Rebecca has a mixed population of Track 1 and 2 students as well as high school and post-graduate students.”

“She is able to keep her high school students engaged in work and assist the post-graduates with their college classes.  When one of our post-grad students was waiting for a class to start, Rebecca brought in STEM kits from home.  The student worked with staff for hours to build electronic spiders and arms.  Recently, a Track 2 graduate student asked if he could work on his OSHA certification after getting out of work.  Rebecca sacrificed what little time she had for planning to help him finish the requirement for his current employer.  She is willing to go above and beyond for all students in the program.  Another example of this is when a student had an OSHA test to pass, Rebecca became a certified OSHA proctor, so she could administer the test for her student.  Rebecca’s attendance is also worth noting, it is impeccable! She is never absent as she knows her students and program rely on her.  Students know that every  morning they are going to be greeted with Rebecca saying, “Good morning sunshine.” I believe Rebecca should be recognized for all she is doing this year. 

Congratulations Rebecca!

Kathy O’Neil, Teacher at Spectrum Girls is the recipient of the Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles Award for the Central Region for May.  

Kathy has received multiple nominations from her colleagues as well as one of her students highlighting her contributions to Social Justice and Equity.   

“Kathy regularly goes above and beyond in creating a culturally responsive classroom. As a recent example Kathy created a learning activity where the Spectrum Girls students celebrated the culture of a student whose family comes from Ghana with Ghanaian food and stories as part of an EYF project The Ghanaian food that the students, teachers and staff were able to sample included Jollof rice, Red-red, Fufu and goat light soup. All who participated enjoyed the lunch and it was an excellent opportunity to experience other cultures. Students also learned about the climate, language and clothing that is native to Ghanaian history/ELA curriculum that really engages our students at Spectrum Girls.”

“Kathy’s classroom practices and routines serve as an exemplar of using the Social Justice and Equity guiding principles. Kathy’s students have regular opportunities to contribute to student -centered learning activities and she often integrates art-based hand learning into her lessons. Kathy’s lessons help her students engage in lessons by the use of design validating, individualized, differentiated, and personalized educational experiences. – Examples of her recent lessons have explored women activists, women’s use of music to create social change focusing on Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, and the Women’s March to end Apartheid in South Africa. She also has presented differing perspectives in history in regards to the indigenous people of North America from the view of Pocahontas and colonization from the black point of view using Ibram Kendi’s book Stamped.”

“As a girls detention program Kathy’s lessons often include the exploration of historic events from a female empowerment perspective. Her classroom walls are a gallery of female role models art pieces created by students. Kathy and her students, past and present, have made her classroom a warm and inviting learning experience for her students.”

“Kathy has made a real impact on her female students’ lives by teaching them that they are valuable and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve their own dreams. Kathy’s students really enjoy the many student -centered learning activities that integrates art-based hands-on learning into her history lessons. One her outstanding lessons this year was having her student’s explore women activists that used music to create social change. Her class learned that Billie Holiday’s song Strange Fruit was used in the Women’s March to end Apartheid in South Africa. Kathy’s classroom walls has a gallery of student work on display that highlights female role models. Her class is warm and inviting learning space for her students.”

“Kathy is one of the best teachers I know that have to deal with us , she tries her best even when we don’t want to do the work she gives us more than one option. She helps us if we need it , she doesn’t force us to do work we don’t/can’t do. She tries to do the funnest lessons/most understanding lessons. I’ve been here many times.” 

Congratulations Kathy! Thank you for embracing and embodying our guiding principle of Social Justice and Equity.  

April 2022

Melanie Attardo recipient of Southeast Region Excellence in Education award for April

Please join us in congratulating April’s recipient of the Excellence in Education: Living Our Guiding Principles Award Melanie Attardo!  Melanie was nominated by Marianne Pina of Southeast Secure Treatment for her work throughout the Southeast Region in the Guiding Principles of College, Career, and Civic Readiness, Culture and Purpose, Social Justice and Equity.  Marianne has this to say about her colleague:

“I have worked with Melanie for many years. I have personally observed her as she works with students to prepare them for college, career, and civic readiness. I have seen her students’ progress as much as several grades in reading and comprehension within the space of an academic year. She had shown sensitivity toward individual culture in her choice of reading materials, discussion of those materials, and purposeful vocabulary. Whenever possible, Melanie has integrated social justice and equity observations and allowed students to explain and discuss their viewpoints.

“I believe Melanie exemplifies the Guiding Principles in all that she does. She makes a real effort to know her students, to put them at ease, to engage them, and to encourage them to do their best to progress. She would be a fine example of the embodiment of our Guiding Principles.”

Congratulations, Melanie!

Cindy Carvill is Central Region Excellence in Education recipient for April 2022

We are thrilled to announce that Cindy Carvill, Vocational Teaching Coordinator for the Central Region is the recipient of the Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles Award for the Central Region for the month of April.  

Cindy has received multiple nominations highlighting her contributions to College, Career, and Civic Readiness as well as Culture and Purpose.  Submitted comments include.  

“Cindy is an incredible resource at WST and Butler. She organizes projects, speakers, and different monthly events. She works with post-grad and career minded students to find meaningful ways to enhance their education.”

“In the short time that I have worked with Cindy, I have seen first-hand her dedication to creating and implementing real-world experiences that benefit her students in myriad ways. The relevancy of her horticulture work in terms of 21st century knowledge and skills is unparalleled. Students are learning about the importance of the natural world and the effects of climate change through hands-on experiences that most of our students would never have otherwise. She also integrates artistic opportunities within the tech and science realm that make the learning creative and fun for her students.”

“Cindy’s work in Horticulture and Vocational Technology is authentically hands-on and promotes readiness for our students’ lives beyond DYS. However, it is her living out the guiding principle of Culture and Purpose that truly makes me see her as a great nominee for this award.”

“Cindy is an amazingly compassionate teacher (and co-worker.) In the short time I have been working in the Central Region it has become obvious that her work in the lab and greenhouse is tailored to her students. Joy and creativity are visible in the variety of projects she plans for her students and the ideas going forward to integrate art with vocational programming. Her love of teaching real-world skills that will benefit her student population is contagious and the results are amazing!” 

“I recently spoke with Cindy about the youth at the program. Throughout that conversation I noticed that Cindy’s knowledge of each student as a learner was extensive and positive. It was clear that Cindy holds each student to high expectations based on their individual and group needs.” 

Congratulations Cindy! Thank you for embracing and embodying our guiding principles where Youth benefit from inquiry-based, authentic, hands-on, and relevant learning experiences that enable them to develop and apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills, propelling them to explore and transfer knowledge to real-world contexts.

April Western Region April 2022 Excellence in Education award winner, Horticulture teacher Sosten Lungu

Congratulations to Sosten Lungu, April recipient of the Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles award who was nominated by his Western Region co-workers for all of the hard work and dedication he shows towards his students and colleagues. Sosten was specifically nominated for his work to promote College and Career Readiness as well as creating Culture and Purpose in our programs. 

One fellow teacher said of Sosten, “Sosten always provides students hands-on opportunities to learn and how this can help them in their own lives or in a job in the future. There is always a connection to the future and a positive future for our students”. 

Another teacher wrote ” Sosten is a great colleague who is always willing to help a student or fellow teacher out and always makes you feel good when being with him. The students all tell me they love his class because he is laid back, teaches them cool things and cares about them as both students and as people”. 

Congratulations, Sosten!

Northeast’s Excellence in Education: Living Our Guiding Principles award winner for April is Bill “Mr. T” Travers.

Please join us in congratulating Bill “Mr. T” Travers on being the recipient of the April Excellence in Education: Living our Guiding Principles award.  Mr. T teaches Vocational Studies at the Northeast Youth Service Center and was nominated by his colleagues, who praised Mr. T for his work with youth in the Vocational Workshop: 

“Mr. T works tirelessly and patiently to bring hands-on vocational experiences to our youth, many of whom have never had such experiences.” and “The students in Mr. T’s class are benefitting from inquiry-based, authentic, hands-on, and relevant learning experiences that enable them to develop and apply critical thinking skills, propelling them to explore and transfer knowledge to real-world contexts.  His work and patience with the students in building Adirondack chairs will allow the students to transfer this ability in the real-world by developing their life skills needed to succeed such as:  creativity, collaboration and communication as well as patience! It is a pleasure working side by side with Mr. T.”

Congratulations, Mr. T, for living our Guiding Principle of College, Career, and Civic Readiness!

Metro’s Excellence in Education – Living Our Guiding Principles April award winner – Susan Vinovrski 

Susan teaches ELA and History at the Commonwealth Secure Detention and was nominated by her colleagues, who praised her for her work with youth at CSD:

“There are many reasons that I nominate Susan.  She’s compassionate, motivated and a team player.  Susan  always looks out for the best interest of her students.  She’s their number one cheerleader.  Susan finds time in her busy day for one-on-one help when needed.  She never says no.  Susan is also CSD’s own IT guru.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with her.” and “Susan is smart, caring and always lends a helping hand.”

Congratulations, Susan, for living our Guiding Principle of College, Career, and Civic Readiness!

Translate »