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Monticello Board of Education honors "Board Award" recipients

Jan. 20, 2017

On Thursday, Jan. 19, the Monticello Board of Education presented Monticello Central School District staff members and student athletes who are examples of excellence with "Board Awards" during its regular meeting.  The honorees are:

Mr. Josef Seidl, Guidance 
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

"As one of our guidance counselors, Josef Seidl can be counted on to findMr. Seidl
solutions for some of the toughest challenges that our students face. There are times when difficult situations arise and difficult conversations are necessary to explore options on behalf of kids while also holding them accountable for their behavior to achieve success. Joe can be counted on to either support his colleagues in preparing for those experiences or facilitate them himself, always with a focus on finding a way to move forward and find a workable solution.Some of these conversations take place at the doorway of homes, at kitchen tables, in the principal’s office, and in his own office. Joe’s determination to develop opportunities for students and promote collegial teamwork has resulted in greater student success. Joe is always advocating for creative programming and considerations to help some of our most struggling students have an opportunity to get the support they need to succeed. He has demonstrated himself as a fierce advocate for students well-being. We are fortunate to have Joe’s experience and dedication to student success on our team. Joe’s number one priority is focusing on what each student needs to achieve their goals."

Ms. Mary Truesdell, Guidance
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

"Mary Truesdell is a leader in the guidance department at Monticello High School. Since focusing on the Freshman experience, sheMary Truesdell has helped to orchestrate the delivery of new experiences for the students new to our high school. Under her guidance and leadership, Mary has designed and implemented strategies to increase parent engagement, increase student preparation for high school success, increase student awareness of how to best prepare for their post-high school opportunities, and facilitate team discussions focused on addressing student needs. In addition, Mary is consistently working with administration to flexibly respond to changes in programmatic needs relative to student need. Mary can be counted on to provide options to best address the identified needs and facilitate the programmatic changes to make it happen. Her many years of service and experience has given us a reliable person to help navigate and explore new opportunities. Mary is also quick to adopt and adapt new strategies and understandings that would benefit students. Whether it is implementing new ideas from a schoolwide reading, a team discussion, or inspiration found on her own, Mary will creatively find a way to put things in action. She can be found with students throughout the day whether it is sitting outside a classroom meeting individually, inside a classroom facilitating a group learning experience, or supporting students from her office. Mary is always where her students need her. The result is student success. We have been fortunate to have Mary on our team as a leader and contributor. It is exciting to see the development of lasting practices that will result in greater student success now and into the future."


Ms. Samantha Anderson, Teacher
Nominated by Stephen Wilder,High School Principal

"Samantha Anderson cares about our students and works hard to make sure they Anderson
have every opportunity to be academically successful. As a special education teacher, Sam consistently checks in with her students and their families to form a team effort for student success. She is diligent in following up with students relative to their learning needs and goals.
Sam has been putting in additional effort throughout the first semester to ensure continuity of instruction, in the classes she team teaches in, as her general education counterparts have not been consistent. She has demonstrated commitment to her students and their education above and beyond her regular duties and responsibilities because she cares deeply about the students and is driven to contribute to the team effort. Sam also participates in the Boys and Girls club program to work with even more students to provide them with supportive educational experiences. In addition, Sam is a foster parent to some of our high school students. Sam gives them a loving and supportive home to thrive academically and emotionally. Her resourcefulness has resulted in her kids participating in experiences in school and out that help to make them life ready. Sam is a caring professional who continues to learn and give her best to prepare students for success. We are lucky to have Samantha on our team at
the high school."

Mr. Timothy Billias, Teacher
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

"Tim Billias is the epitome of a lead learner who has an insatiable appetite for Billias
learning and applying that learning to the classroom. Since I have known Tim, he has been consistently implementing new and engaging approaches and activities in his classroom in a thoughtful and considerate approach. He has been incorporating new and relevant texts into his courses that lead students to explore the world, their thinking, and how they behave to lead them to become more Life Ready. Tim is deliberate in his approach to get students to not only
learn new ways of thinking and doing but to apply their learning in a meaningful way and show they have the expected skills. Students are held accountable to complete every assignment in his classroom as Tim pilots a new approach to grading. It takes courage to implement new things in the classroom and develop completely new experiences for students. Tim’s efforts have led students to achieve academic success as well as a greater sense of personal accomplishment and value to contribute. In addition to being a valuable classroom teacher, Tim is a trusted and respected coach for our cross country, indoor track, and track and field teams. He is a terrific team member as part of the Academy of Finance team and was instrumental in the planning for our first Academy of Finance Color Run this
past year and will be for this coming Spring as well. He is working to make Monticello High School a great place to work and learn
both in and out of school. Educators like Tim are extremely valuable and we are very lucky to have him on our team."

Mr. Karen Collura, Teacher
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

"Karen Collura is one of those special individuals who is driven to contribute toCollura
Monticello High School and our district because it is simply part of her DNA. Karen seeks out new challenges and opportunities as evidenced by the many positions that she has taken on this year. Karen is the ELA department instructional leader, lead the effort for the Thanksgiving Food Drive and Holiday Toy Drive, is the high school public relations liaison, produced the high school drama production, and has taken the lead in developing our digital signage and
production effort. With the exception of the ELA department instructional leader position, all the other positions are new to Karen. Although Karen has produced the high school drama production in the past, she still organized new cast and crew members for a new drama production. In addition, Karen has taken on new courses for this year and students are thriving in them. The ability and courage to take on so many new challenges, while also contributing daily to the
betterment of the high school, is inspiring and greatly appreciated. We would not have the success we are having as a school without Karen’s consistent and tenacious work ethic."

Mr. Ed Gold, Teacher
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

"Courage is a trait that people with a strong sense of self and mission possess.Gold
Ed Gold has demonstrated the courage, time and again, to be vulnerable and attempt new strategies if he believes it will result in students being more successful. Ed has embraced a learning environment with flexible seating arrangements that allow students to select an option that will work best for them relative to the
learning happening in the classroom. Ed ensures that the classroom is
inclusive through the use of technology as a tool to facilitate discussion and include student voice. He has worked diligently with our technology coach to explore new applications that allow students to demonstrate what they know, make progress at their readiness, contribute to discussions in a safe way, and access information to make informed decisions and opinions. In addition, Ed has been piloting a research-based grading procedure in his classroom that focuses on having student’s complete specific summative assessments to demonstrate their learning relative to course requirements and
letting students know that they must complete them to earn a grade. If students do not complete the assessment they receive an incomplete until it is completed. This demonstrates to students that all of the graded work is meaningful and necessary to earn course completion. Students are given multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning as there is an understanding that learning is a continuum that does not end. This has required courageous conversations with students who are not used to being held
accountable on every assessment, parents who are not used to incomplete ratings on a report card, and colleagues who are not familiar with this practice. Ed is known and acknowledged for his caring and positive relationships with students. He is a trusted colleague and representative within the Monticello Teachers Association. Ed is a collaborator and contributor to making Monticello
High School a better place to work and learn. The Monticello High School community is simply a better place because of Ed’s effort."

Ms. Nicole Grant, Teacher
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

"Nicole Grant is more than a math teacher at Monticello High School. She is a
catalyst for challenging the status quo of instructional delivery. Nicole has been
determined to provide students with a learning environment and experience that
will challenge them to engage in the content. Nicole has embraced the use of
instructional technology, integrating the new Microsoft tablets into her daily
instructional practice and students learning experience. Students are
challenged to demonstrate their understanding of mathematical concepts and
principles with a focus on every student giving their best. Nicole has also
embraced new furniture to provide students with an opportunity for seated and
standing learning.

As a department instructional leader, Nicole is regularly advocating on behalf of
her department and planning new opportunities to give students opportunities
to succeed. Nicole works diligently to equip her colleagues with the tools and
support they need to be set up for success with their students as well.
Aside from being an instructional leader, Nicole is a valuable contributor in our
Freshman teaming effort to ensure our freshmen receive collaborative support.
Nicole contributes meaningfully to strategizing for the success of students and
learns how to be more responsive in addressing student needs and student
behaviors. Nicole is a valued and valuable team member whose heart and
actions are focused on helping all of our students succeed."

Mr. Michael Ryan, Safety Aide
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

 "As a safety aide at the high school, Michael Ryan is a consistent and reliable presenRyance in our building. Mike spends much of his time in the main office monitoring the entrance of the building and our camera system to keep the safety team aware of what is happening around the building. Mike is a consummate professional who develops positive relationships with adults and students to create a safe and welcoming environment. He is trusted to coordinate safety initiatives and adjustments to ensure building-wide coverage and safety escorts. Mike is dependable in using effective judgement resulting in increased security coverage and response. Mike is a reliable contributor when something needs to be done or coordinated. If an investigation needs to be supported through some research he is thorough and accurate. When you need someone to assist with some extra duties he is considerate and responsive. When there is a sensitive issue to be resolved or that you need support with he is trusted to facilitate a safe and supportive experience. We are fortunate to have a safety team member of Mike’s caliber leading by example and keeping everyone in the building safe."


At the same board meeting, a number of student athletes were honored as "Scholar Athletes," a New York state Public High School Athletic Association distinction. To earn this award,  they must, as a team, maintain a grade point average of 90% or greater. The following group of students have been honored by the New York state. The Monticello teams that have achieved this distinction are:

Girls Cross Country – 97.84%
Coach: Tim Billias

 Gabrielle Acosta-Herrera
 Samantha Bisland
 Sarah Grodin
 Jillian McEneaney
 Sasrika Rajan

Monticello girls cross country team

Girls Soccer – 94.79%
Coach: Lou Velasco

 Jessica Blakesley
 Jenna Borko
 Lillie Carnell
 Kayla Desouza-Stewart
 Taylor Fein
 Ashley Feldman
 Elliana Harrold
 Dana Kurthy
 Morgan Mitchell
 Aubrey Soller
 Kelly Swensen
 Drew Taylor
 Emily Wells

Monticello girls soccer team

Boys Cross Country – 93.68%
Coach: Tim Billias

Alexander Bisland
 Quentin Cruz
 Justyn Kelly
 Brandon Mancroni
 Sebastian McElrath
 Thomas Nola
 Christian Pedroza
 Christopher Pintado
 Evan Waterton
 William Waterton
 Timothy Wilbur

boys cross country team

Girls Tennis – 92.03%
Coach: Urvashi Gupta

 Somaya Bracy
 Leslie DeJesus
 Desiree Edwards
 Anastasia Gessman
 Sydney Lemmerman
 Rachel Leventoff
 Lina Rios
 Annie Trotta
 Sarah Yousef

Monticello girls tennis team

The following students have been honored by the New York State Public High
School Athletic Association as “Scholar Athletes”. To achieve this honor, they
must, as an individual, maintain a grade point average of 90% or greater, they
will receive a certificate and a pin. The Monticello students that have achieved
this distinction are:

Boys Soccer

 Steban Medina-Ramirez
 Patrick Owens
 Patrick Sikorski

boys soccer


 Valerie Goetz
 Allison Stein

cheer team


 Jonah Lilley
 Joseph Stant
 Chad Unger



 Kassey Balzano
 Allison LaRuffa
 Hailee Quiles
 Stacey Reuss
 Na-eelah Shackelford


The following students have been honored by the Section IX Football Coaches
Association to receive Section IX All-League Award Recognition. They will
receive a certificate from the Section Nine Football Coaches Association and a
Certificate from the Monticello Board of Education for their achievements.

 Khadeem Richards
 My-Kell Farrar