Southwick teachers to be honored

SOUTHWICK – Teachers at Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District (STGRSD) will be among those honored at the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards ceremonies in May.
The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation supports and rewards exceptional public and parochial school teachers in the region as part of the Pioneer Valley Awards for Excellence in Education.
Three members of the STGRSD faculty will be honored this year with Grinspoon awards, including high school teacher Marie Galanek, who was praised by Superintendent John Barry.
“She is a very deserving teacher, a department chairperson and an excellent teacher,” said Barry. “And she was also instrumental in bringing foreign language instruction to the middle school this year.”
Powder Mill Middle School teacher Jenny Sullivan was also honored.
“She is another great teacher,” said Barry of the special education instructor, adding that Sullivan “is admired for her teaching skills and advocacy for special education students.”
Lauri Aliengina, a Woodland Elementary School teacher, is a relatively new teacher to the system whom Barry said “has done a great job in first grade and contributes in lots of ways supporting kids beyond the classroom.”
Nominees must be certified by the state of Massachusetts and must demonstrate professionalism through excellence in teaching practices her own professional development, good attendance on the job, and enthusiasm for teaching and/or working with children.
Each school community decides on its own fair and equitable selection process. At least two teachers can be selected, with one selected for every 1,000 students, and another first-year teacher (one has not yet achieved state certification) also being selected.
To celebrate the successes of area teachers, and to encourage them to remain in the teaching field, the award provides a cash award of $500, an engraved plaque;, a three-month YMCA membership, a invitation to a celebration event at the Log Cabin, an nvitation from WGBY to take an online course and $100 scholarships given by Western New England University, Springfield College, and Westfield State University to take a graduate course.
The Excellence in Teaching Awards program has grown from 16 communities and 96 teachers honored in 2002, to 30 communities and 148 honorees this year. Since 2003, 1,800 local educators have been honored.
STGRSD award recipients will be honored May 9 at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke, along with teachers from Agawam, Chicopee, Holyoke, Jewish Schools of Western Mass., Sabis International, Westfield, and West Springfield. Tickets are available for purchase through the schools.

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