School Board Honors Retiring Teachers, Top Students

The Board of Education honored both Newtown’s retiring educators and students within the top five percent of the graduating Class of 2014, including valedictorian Anne Beier and salutatorian Amisha Dave, at its meeting on Tuesday, June 3.

Superintendent of Schools Joseph Erardi, Jr, announced each retiring teacher or administrator before they were greeted by Board of Education members and handed a gift by school board Chair Debbie Leidlein.

“I’d like to start by recognizing 344 years of service,” Dr Erardi said, acknowledging the combined total of years the teachers and administrators have spent in Newtown and other districts.

Marilyn Aylward, Eileen Cullen, Claudia Mitchell, Doris Papp, Angela Pennucci, Jo-Ann Peters-Edmondson, Anthony Salvatore, Vicki Sheskin, Sue Ward, Gary Wilkinson, Wendy Bowen, Cathy Cincogrono, Diane Dutchick, B.J. Liberty, and Tom Swetts were all named during the meeting. Ms Bowen, Ms Cincogrono, Ms Dutchick, Ms Liberty, and Mr Swetts were not able to attend the meeting.

With the retiring educators assembled in a line behind him, Dr Erardi said that the night marked “an extraordinary moment for our retiring teachers.”

“From this superintendent, from the Board of Education, from this community, and from the thousands of students you have influenced, congratulations to each one of you,” Dr Erardi said.

Along with Anne and Amisha, students who earned grade point averages to place them in the top five perfect of this year’s graduating class are Samuel Boland, Samantha Chanko, Kathryn D’Alessandro, Bethany Dubois, Ryanne Duffy, Lindsey Jagoe, Nicholas Klein, Margaret Kost, Kirsten Liniger, Wesley Morlock, Anna Northrop, Austin Raftery, Ridhi Sahani, Juliana Sansonetti, Dale Shearin, Aileen Sheluck, Siyuan Sun, Mia Terracino, Caroline Wollman, and Daisy Zheng.

“I don’t think I have ever met… more respectful, bright young minds in my career,” Dr Erardi said about the students.

The superintendent also shared that nine of the students plan to pursue an engineering career, and another nine students plan to pursue either a science, health, or medical career.

“And I’m pleased to say, two… look to move into education,” said Dr Erardi.

The students introduced themselves to the members of the Board of Education individually before the group was honored as a whole.

Interim Newtown High School Principal Jeffrey Jaslow said he had the pleasure of meeting the students “just a short time ago.”

“These kids have done a great job,” said Mr Jaslow. “In the short time that I have been here, I’ve really learned to appreciate who they are and what they have done for the school community. They’re terrific.”

Cake was served in celebration of both the students and the retiring educators after the students were honored.

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