Since 2003, Parents for Public Schools has presented its Celebration of Excellence awards to dedicated members of the Syracuse City School District education community, recognizing the contributions of students, staff, parents and volunteers to the overall well being of the SCSD.
Here is a brief list of their accomplishments:
Parris Adair is a graduating senior at Corcoran High School, who volunteers as a mentor for third-graders at Roberts K-8 School and for the local Big Brother, Big Sister program.
Tom Bardenett is graduating from Henninger High School at the top of his class, and is designated as an Advanced Placement Scholar.
Clary science teacher Gail Calcagnino coordinates the school’s holiday gift campaign for students, and is the spirit squad coach, dance choreographer and chess team advisor.
The late Stan Colella, legendary musician and educator, worked tirelessly with the Syracuse City School District, the Syracuse Parks and Recreation All-Star Band and the Horns a Plenty program to provide music education and opportunity to SCSD students.
Dean DeSantis has served as a SCSD teacher and administrator, currently as principal at Lincoln Middle School and is recognized as a supportive administrator and role model for staff, students and parents.
Music teacher Judy Gotham, of Lincoln Middle School, a Syracuse Symphony outstanding educator, has just completed her 46th musical production, all with the idea that there is room for everyone who wants to participate.
Dick and Nancy Humpleby are integral members of the Elmwood School community as reading tutors, providing academic support along with the caring and understanding so important to the needs of our children.
Bosnian born Armin Jasicis an eighth grade honor student at Lincoln Middle School, active in the chorus, drama company, All-City Band and Chorus and various sports teams.
Leesa Kelley, Crouse Hospital’s Outreach Manager, has been instrumental in improving the health and wellness of the Hughes School community and coordinates Crouse employee volunteers to provide heart and health screenings for staff and parents.
Janet Kimatian, principal of John T. Roberts K-8 School, has always sought to make a difference in urban education. Under her leadership, Roberts is now listed as a School of Promise.
Ashley Morris, an honor society member and part of the first graduating class at the Institute of Technology volunteers with the Jenna Foundation for Non Violence, mentoring young victims of violent crimes.
Teacher Patrick Stoner, first grade team leader at Seymour Dual Language Academy, is a member of the school’s leadership team and serves as a volunteer/mentor for new teaching protocol training.
Al Turner began mentoring Syracuse youth as a coach for Salt City Housing football teams for elementary students. He is a member of the 100 Black Men of Syracuse, and volunteers with On Point for College, mentoring students as they enter higher education.
Latasha Williams is an active and supportive parent in the Seymour School family, a role model for productive parent involvement.
The group also recognized retiring superintendent Dan Lowengard for his outstanding service to the SCSD as a teacher and superintendent.
Dr. Peter Knoblock, Syracuse University Professor Emeritus, is the recipient of the 2011 Mary Ficchi Lifetime in Education Award. He came to Syracuse University to develop a training program for teachers of troubled children. He helped devise an immersion model for teacher training and an alternative learning environment (Jowonio School) that is now a model for mainstreaming efforts worldwide.
Dr. Knoblock says that accomplishments such as his are the result of a vital collaboration with parents, educators and the students themselves – a philosophy clearly shared by all of this year’s honorees.
Herm Card is a former teacher with more than 32 years of classroom experience and 20 years as a professional development consultant. His column appears bi-weekly in The Eagle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.