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School personnel to be honored with Excellence in Teaching Award

Date: 3/7/2011

March 7, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — Five teachers from the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD) have been selected to receive the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award.

"It's a way to honor a profession that doesn't often get a lot of attention," Donna Scanlon, HWRSD assistant superintendent, said. "Pausing and making a note of the exceptional work these educators do is such a powerful and important thing for us as a society."

Kathleen Disa, a first grade teacher from Green Meadows Elementary School, Jessica Paris, a second grade teacher from Stony Hill Elementary School, Lianne Pennington, a sixth grade special education teacher at the Wilbraham Middle School, and Patricia Regan, a reading specialist at Mile Tree Elementary School, were all selected as recipients of the award for experienced education professionals.

Danielle Dugre, a school adjustment counselor at Soule Road Elementary School, won the honor for beginning educators, or those who have been in education for three years or fewer.

Chosen by a selection committee that includes past winners in addition to administrators, the award recipients will be honored at a dinner at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke on May 12.

"We involve past awardees in the process, that way we can get input from people who understand what this award is all about," M. Martin O'Shea, superintendent of HWRSD, said. "The dinner is a great event where these teachers can be honored by their peers from across Western Massachusetts."

According to Scanlon, the criteria for the award is extensive, including "high-quality teaching practices, respect from peers, students and parents, alike, and going above and beyond" the typical educational standards.

"These people represent the best in all of us in the district," Scanlon said. "They represent what it means to be an educational professional in Hampden and Wilbraham."

Scanlon and O'Shea both agreed that the fact that five different schools were represented by award recipients was something to be noted and applauded.

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