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Teachers of the Year 2019

Category: Uncategorized

Among many impressive nominations, 9 outstanding teachers have been chosen. 

On Friday, May 17th, the Milton Foundation for Education Trustees, along with Superintendent Mary Gormley and a lot of extremely excited students, surprised nine extraordinary educators. Take a peek at the celebrations and read what the community had to say about our Honorees. On Wednesday, May 22 at the Milton High School those 9 educators were honored at the 2019 Teacher of the Year Award Ceremony.

Dr. Mary Grassa O’Neill Leadership Award, Amy Gale, 1st Grade, Collicot Elementary School

“Amy Gale is understanding to both parents and kids. She sends out weekly detailed email to parents in her class with what they have done each week. She’s responsive to emails. My daughter loves her because she is kind and supportive. She guides her in her reading when she struggles and I’ve seen a vast improvement in her reading skills and most importantly she’s enjoying her reading time.”

“Amy is an extremely valuable asset to the Collicot School and the Milton Public School system. She has just as much energy and enthusiasm for teaching our kids as she did on the first day of school. I have volunteered in the classroom a few times and have been amazed at her command of the classroom and the personalized attention she manages to give to each and every student. She has a way of getting on their level and placing her complete focus on them that can only be described as a gift. Amy has made a positive impact on my son’s engagement and enthusiasm for learning. She knows how to play to her students’ strengths. She is stern when she needs to be, but communicates so that her young students completely understand the message. She treats each of them as a valuable part of their classroom community. It is so evident that she loves her job and cares deeply for her students. Every Friday she sends parents a summary of what the students did during the week. Her words jump off of the page! She makes learning fun and it is clear that she invests a great deal of time into preparing for each lesson she teaches. I could not be more thrilled that my son had the wonderful experience of learning from her. Amy deserves this honor and then some!”

“Amy Gale brings enthusiasm, kindness, patience, and a love of learning to the classroom each day and it’s infectious for her students. My son,
who is shy and easily overwhelmed, has loved going to school everyday because of the classroom environment that Mrs. Gale creates and the way she makes each of her students feel loved and comfortable. She brings out the best in her students and helps and advocates for them in areas where they may struggle. I know my son has faced some challenges this year in terms of his fine motor development and executive functioning and Mrs. Gale was quick to recognize these challenges and develop a plan to help him. She spends time outside of the classroom making sure that happens and communicating with my husband and me to ensure we are all on the same page. I am so grateful that my son had Amy Gale as a teacher this year.”

Mary Beth Callahan, Tucker Elementary School, Preschool

“Mary Beth and Kelly went above and beyond this year to guide and teach my son. They met every challenge head on and with professionalism and deep care for children. They were always responsive to my questions and requests and to my child’s needs. They were a great team to work with. They both are clearly very passionate and dedicated educators who care deeply for children. Our family was luck to have them as part of our tucker experience. ”

“Classroom management is excellent; communication to parents is consistent and clear and keeps us informed and involved; Activities and curriculum she follows are creative and age appropriate and challenge each student individually. My children strive so much in her classroom.”

“It is with great admiration and pride that I nominate Marybeth Callahan as Teacher of the Year at Tucker School. I have had the privilege of working with her this year in the Pre K classroom. Through the year I have continuously seen her demonstrate a loving, kind, patient manner with these young children. Her expertise and extreme knowledge of best teaching practice is present every day. Marybeth encourages her students to be the best person they can be, always taking the time to stop and listen to what these four year olds are expressing and provides them with a positive, mindfulness response. The activities and lessons that are planned and presented come from a real love of teaching and are always met with excitement and discovery from her students; a truly well-balanced curriculum. No matter what type of behaviors presented in a day, Marybeth is always, patient, caring, professional, and sensitive to the child’s emotions. One could only hope to have Marybeth as their child’s PreK teacher, as they begin their educational career in such a positive light.”

Tara Kostek, Tucker Elementary School, Kindergarten

“I am writing to nominate Tara Kostek for teacher of the year. Tara is a phenomenal educator who fosters a classroom community that is safe and engaging for all students. Any time you walk into her classroom you are in awe of the lesson being taught (just like the kids). Not only does she care about every student in her classroom, but she also cares about every student in the school. She is constantly helping create clear expectations and incentives for students to behave and learn through our school wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Systems (a district initiative started this year). Tara is an exceptional colleague, a fantastic teacher, and the most caring person. She embodies “Teacher of the Year”!”

“Although Tara has been working at Tucker for 15 years, I have only had the pleasure to see the amazing teacher that she is for the past 5 years. When I first began teaching at Tucker, Tara made a point to always offer to lend a hand or advice. She is still someone that I can go to for advice and ideas on curriculum or individual students. I teach 4th grade at Tucker and at the end of the year when students reflect on who their favorite teacher has been throughout their Tucker experience, “Mrs. Kostek” is frequently a lead contender. At first, this was surprising to me since so many years had went by since Kindergarten. However, I realized that their choice was made because she had such a dramatic impact on their learning and their happiness when they first started school. Every day, I see how she goes above and beyond for her students and it is something they never forget. We, as staff and students, are so lucky to have a teacher like Tara at Tucker and she deserves to be recognized for all of her amazing work.”

Sarah Slater, Cunningham Elementary School, Kindergarten

“Mrs. Slater has cultivated a love of learning, exploration and adventure in her classroom! Students are supportive of one another and are great teammates. Our daughter’s kindergarten year could not be going better. She is learning so much about the world and about herself. She is an avid reader and loves math and science. Her excitement about school is a testament to the time and energy Mrs. Slater devotes to every single student. We are so thankful to have had Mrs. Slater for kindergarten; she is the best!”

“Sarah has been instrumental in the smooth transition of my son from Pre-school (where he was really shy) to kindergarten. I see vast improvements in my son’s social and language skills since school started. My son loves going to school as Miss Slater makes it so much fun.”

“Ms Slater has made each day of Kindergarten as engaging and exciting as the day before. My daughter Keira literally skips into school eachday as a result. Ms Slater is making the school such an adventure for the children. She is also doing an amazing job of engaging the parents, allowing us to share in the many adventures through seesaw where we get to see our children reading, writing and generally just having so much fun. She deserves to be recognized for all the effort she has gone to this year with the help of the wonderful Ms Grout.”

Beth Fahey, Collicot Elementary School, Physical Education

“Beth is an outstanding physical education teacher. She believes in the value of exercise and instills it in each of her classes. Although she sees many classes of varying grade levels each day, her energy level is as high at 2:45 as it is with her first class at 8:30. She makes accommodations so all students, regardless of need, are able to access her class and feel successful….”

“Beth goes above and beyond. She is a great role model, is always helpful and will step in when needed at any time. Beth is a wonderful teacher who helps students overcome fears and always has encouraging words. Students LOVE Ms Fahey and staff loves her too.”

“Mrs. Fahey always goes above and beyond. She is passionate about her work and is an amazing role model for all of her students and colleagues. She makes her classroom fun while promoting health and physical education. As a specialist teacher, Mrs. Fahey has a strong home-school connection with the all of the Collicot families. Collicot is lucky to have her!”

Melissa Craven, Glover Elementary School, 5th Grade

“Melissa Craven is a shining star at Glover. She lights up her classroom and the hallways with her smile. We are blessed to have such a dedicated teacher going above and beyond for our children. My daughter absolutely loves to learn and it’s all because of Mrs Craven. She is so deserving of this award I would love to be able to call her our Teacher of the year. ”

“I am nominating this teacher because she is very funny and she talks to the students and makes sure no one is left out. She makes everything the most fun that she can make it no matter what it is we are doing. In my opinion she is the best teacher in fifth grade because of how she teaches the students and how she talks to them.”

“She’s a great teacher because you can tell she loves what she does, cares about us kids & excited to teach us new things.”

Kerri Devin, Pierce Middle School, 6th Grade Social Studies

“My 6th grader is my second child to have Ms. Devin. I am seeing for the 2nd time what a dedicated, creative, organized, caring teacher Ms. Devin is not just for my kids but all those in her classes. More than anything, she has made learning enjoyable and fun for my daughters in a way I’ve seen no other middle school teacher do to date. She creates a classroom experience that engages students and is memorable several years later, leaving a lasting impact on her students. I find her easily approachable and helpful as a parent and can’t imagine asking for anything more in a middle school teacher. Bravo Ms. Devin!”

“Ms. Devin goes above and beyond to help students adjust to middle school. My son was really struggling with all the changes Pierce brings. He was becoming extremely frustrated and started to really hate school and think he was ‘stupid’. His frustration stemmed from lack of an organization system that worked for him. He would open his homework folder to start his work only to realize he left the assignment in his class binder. Other times he would do his homework and leave it at home and not turn it in. I was frustrated as well. I didn’t know how to help him get himself organized.  My daughter is at the high school now but when she was at Pierce she too had Ms. Devin. My daughter suggested my son meet with Ms. Devin for help. Well, reaching out to her was the BEST decision. After meeting with Ms. Devin, my son came home beaming with pride, showing me his new homework binder with folders labeled for each class; one side labeled ‘to do’ and the other ‘complete’. When they met after school, Ms. Devin not only developed an organization system that worked for my son, she also helps him organize his locker so he can quickly get what he needs for each class. My son has a new sense of pride in his work, realizes he is fully capable of being an excellent student and looks forward to going to school again. Ms. Devin has truly changed his outlook. Everyone should be so lucky to have her as one of their six grade teachers.”

Rebecca Damiani, Milton High School, Music

“Rebecca Damiani has the ability to create order and discipline in a group of 95 students while maintaining a spirit of creativity, freedom, energy and fun. She calls the best out of her students and they respond with a willingness to learn new instruments and stretch themselves beyond what they have done before.”

“Rebecca’s leadership with the jazz band helps students realize their talent and abilities in performance and creates a safe space for them to try soloing and difficult pieces. Her guidance with Gary Good in the marching band creates an award winning group that makes a “home town” ambiance happen for the town of Milton at our Friday night home football games.”

“Rebecca Damiani and Gary Good received the Lowell G. Mason Award for excellence in music education in the state of Massachusetts this year as a result of their excellent work in the Milton High School and excellent work to futher music education in the state of Massachusetts.”

Liam Downes, Para of the Year

“Liam Downes is such a wonderful asset to our school community. He brings such a great school spirit, always ready to lend a helping hand and never without a smile on his face. He actively participates in school activities and very well liked by parents and students. My son especially enjoys CASS activities “Krazy Kickball with Mr. Downes.” It would be great for Mr. Downes to be recognized for his kind heart, school spirit and hard work and always with a smile on his face.”

“Liam is simply the BEST! He shines at Cunningham. The students truly love him, whether he assists in their classroom or teaches an after school activity, the students know him and respect him. He is so caring, engaging and supportive. He works so hard for the students and he is always so helpful outside of the classroom. Liam has so much school spirit!! Always going above and beyond what his responsibilities are. I am happy to nominate Liam for Teacher of the Year.”

“My children are not students of Liam Downes, but they are big fans of his. I am as well. He is a fantastic role model for not only the students he teaches, but for the entire school. He is always ready to greet the kids and parents with a big smile and “hello”. Whenever I have seen him with his students, he is always respectful, kind and patient. He gently reinforces good manners such as holding a door for others or looking an adult in they eye when they are being addressed. He is always one of the first staff members to step up to help motivate the students and boost school spirit. As a parent, he is the type of person that I look at and think to myself, “his parents must be proud of the adult that he has become.”

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