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Retirees and those with 25 years of service in the White Plains City School District (WPCSD) were honored with a special presentation and certificates at the Board of Education meeting on June 13.
“Tonight, we want to express our gratitude and appreciation to all of our retiring educators who spend most of their lives in public service to the students in the greater White Plains community,” Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Scott Pepper said. “As stated in our mission statement, they have educated and inspired students, nurtured their dreams, taught them to think continually, think critically and pursue their aspirations so they could contribute to a diverse and dynamic world.”
Pepper said the retirees’ combined body of work has included interacting with and educating thousands of students as teachers, administrators, coaches, club advisors, mentors, chaperones and counselors.
Pepper highlighted that — in addition to the retirees’ job responsibilities — they have also mentored incoming teachers, presented at conferences, chaired committees, written grants, provided professional development, drafted curriculum, served on task forces, initiated community service projects, been community liaisons and led numerous extracurricular activities.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, superintendent, your colleagues, students and parents, we salute you,” Pepper said. “We thank you for making a positive difference in the schools, and we want you to know that you have left a legacy of excellence.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ricca noted that it is invaluable when you look at all of the time, effort and attention the retirees have invested in the district’s children over their careers.
“You have truly touched the lives of so many kids and made so many kids’ lives better,” Ricca said. “On their worst day, so many of you were there to pick them up and move them along for years and years and years.”
Board member Sheryl Brady highlighted that among the retirees and those observing 25-year anniversaries, they have dedicated more than 1,000 years combined of dedicated service to White Plains schools.
“Not only have you all been touching the lives of our students, but you’ve also touched the lives of our parents,” Brady said. “We are very, very appreciative.”
Board member Randy Stein added that, as a district, White Plains is incredibly lucky to have both extraordinary educators and caring people.
“That teaches our children how important it is to be caring and what is so valuable,” Stein said. “Thank you so much because you’ve enriched all of us as well as our students.”
Board President Rosemarie Eller said that the retirees’ commitment to the district will forever be remembered through the students’ lives they touched and the stories they tell.
“Know that out there there’s someone who will tell the story about their favorite teacher, their favorite teaching assistant, their favorite person who worked with them,” Eller said. “On behalf of all of us here, thank you all so much.”
Among the retirees were Ernie Spatafore, Lisa Panaro, Sue Adams, Karin Cabral, Teresa Cristiano, Christine Ciofolo, Wendy Sue Dale, Karen Day, Jane Iacobellis, Jody Kennedy, Caren Levant, Susan Levin, Spencer Mayfield, Abbas Nuridden, Ted O’Donnell, Evelyn Alicea-Santiago, Joseph Spedaliere, Daniel Stiel, Deborah Williamson, Mary O’Connor, Julia Probber, Rosana Arras-Ron, Aura Zelaya, Catherine Mahoney, William Krebs, William Braswell and Poppy, a therapy dog.
Those recognized for 25 years of service were Shelly Adlman, Vito Scirocco, Emily Conrad, Teresa Cristiano, Joan DiSanto, Michelle Goodman, James Johnson Jr., William Krebs, Liza Lanos, Jacqueline Miller, Sungho Pak, Christine Pasquale-Hertel, Brian Reed, Ronda Saylor, Lucius Scala, Glen Setterstrom, Maureen Sharkey, MaryBeth Stefano, Monica Sultan and Anna Turturro Burns.
Longtime district clerk Michele Schoenfeld was also presented with a plaque at the meeting to officially rename the Education House Assembly Room at 5 Homeside Lane after her. Schoenfeld will be retiring at the end of this year after four decades with the district.
“Thank you all very much,” Schoenfeld said. “It’s been a long ride and a lot of fun. I really appreciate all these honors.”
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