Recognizing Teachers ~ Locally and Worldwide

October 5, 2013 in Community Development, Inspiration, Youth & Education by Jen

Today, October 5th, 2013, is ‘World Teachers Day‘ and ‘Thank a Teacher Day’.  Our society is rooted on the foundations of great teachers. Good teachers provide much more than book-learning. They provide support and care that nurtures a love of learning- that inspires a life-long quest for knowledge. Good teachers help build their students, their peers, and their communities.

Every day, teachers are working with our students- the leaders of tomorrow. Having good teachers is imperative, not just for the sake of individual students, but for society.

Springfield Teacher, Valerie Gasco, Finalist for Vermont Teacher of the Year VT Teacher of the Year logo

We are fortunate to have many dedicated teachers in Springfield and the surrounding area. Just yesterday it was announced that Riverside Middle School teacher Valerie Gasco is one of three finalists for Vermont Teacher of the Year. Ms. Gasco is a special education teacher for 6th – 8th grade students. Most who know her agree that her contributions are indeed quite special. She takes the time to understand individual students needs and works tirelessly to ensure they receive the best education possible. She is a passionate advocate for students and families.

Although the winner of the Vermont Teacher of the Year won’t be announced until October 15th, in our book Ms. Gasco, her students, peers, and Springfield are already the winners here.

Springfield High School Instructional Coach and Counselor receive high praise and recognition

Liz Mirra, Instructional Coach for math and science, was recognized by the Massachusetts Society of Medical Research for Outstanding Science Teacher representing all of Vermont.

Liz Mirra, Instructional Coach for math and science, recognized by the Massachusetts Society of Medical Research for Outstanding Science Teacher

Liz Mirra

Jade Dunn Costello, with her new award - Vermont School Counselors' Association, New Counselor of the Year for 2013

Jade Dunn Costello


Also bringing in a win for to kick off the 2013/ 2014 school year was Springfield High School counselor Jade Dunn Costello. She won the New Counselor of the Year Award from the Vermont School Counselor’s Association for 2013.

Springfield School’s David Cohn honored by Tony Danza at AFT

In July, David Cohn, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for the Springfield School District, was honored for “Making a Difference” by Tony Danza and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). At AFT’s Annual TEACH conference in D.C., over 3000 educators gathered for three days of training and inspiration. Mr. Cohn joined Tony Danza on stage. Tony recounted his first day of teaching and the important role Mr. Cohn played in supporting and coaching him as a teacher.  Mr. Cohn also served as an instructional coach for three years at Springfield High School before being appointed the School District Director of C.I.A.

Alison Sylvester, Springfield teacher, elected Vice President Vermont NEA

Another Springfield teacher recognized in2013 was Alison Sylvester of Union Street Elementary. She was elected to serve as Vice President of the Vermont NEA (National Education Association). This recognition of Ms. Sylvester’s leadership and commitment to her profession is a strong testament by her peers.

Greater Springfield Area Teachers

Although we’ve focused on just a few of the most recent recognitions of Springfield teachers, there are so many in the surrounding area who are also doing outstanding work. Kurn Hattin, which serves some Springfield children,  has provided some of the most caring, supportive teachers in an alternative setting.

Just a few weeks ago, music director, Lisa Bionconi, was notified she is a semifinalist in the 1st-ever music educator Grammy! With 29 years of teaching students at Kurn Hattin, her dedication shines through when she talks about her love for music and her students.

You can read more about this Grammy award and Lisa here:

More Teacher Recognition

Most of the time, teacher recognition, when it happens, is much more low-key and localized. Every year, students dedicate the SHS Yearbook to a special teacher. In Spring 2013, Mrs. Susan Fog received that honor. Those who know her could easily understand that choice as her passion for teaching and her fondness for her students is clear in every interaction.

There are plenty of other good teachers who don’t get publicly recognized but whose contributions are just as strong as those who are recognized.  Take a moment to thank those teachers that have made a difference to you, your child, or your neighbor’s child.  Because sooner than you realize, those children will be the teachers, and the leaders, of tomorrow.

What Teachers Make

If you aren’t sure about taking a moment to thank a teacher, maybe you should think about what it is that teacher’s actually make:

This is a heartfelt “Thank You!” to teachers  everywhere who have seen past defiant attitudes, blank stares, half-baked efforts and stories you’ve heard and reached deep to  challenge the most challenging students to become more than they ever thought possible.