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Monticello Board of Education honors "Board Award" recipients

March 31, 2017

On Thursday, March 16, 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:


Ms. Lynn Selkirk, Teacher
Nominated by Michelle Knowlton, Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary Principal

Lynn SelkirkI am writing to nominate a teacher whose impact sends ripples to every corner of our school. Lynn Selkirk has touched students and teachers in ways that change us personally and professionally. She is passionate about her work and will be a great loss to the Monticello community when she retires at the end of this school year.

As the Social Emotional and Wellness Coach at Rutherford, Lynn Selkirk not only goes into each classroom every week but she has taken on so many projects that improve the lives of our children. Lynn is responsible for starting the Edible Garden at Rutherford. She works with teachers and our culinary staff to ensure that our students understand the importance of healthy eating. She oversees Rutherford’s Student Council, Back Pack Program and works with community agencies and other partners to make sure that our students have school supplies, clothing and food.

By providing opportunities for students to develop a personal connection and love of learning. Lynn has been a strong role model for so many of her fe3llow educators. It is typical to see colleagues in her room at lunch or after school asking for advice or involved in some joint activity. She is an exceptional listener, both to students and adults.

Lynn Selkirk is a standout in the field of education. In addition to supporting students and teachers at Rutherford Elementary, she is part of the Social, Emotional and Wellness team that has developed a standards-base curriculum for all students in Kindergarten through 5th grade in the MCSD. In addition to producing a talent school at Rutherford each year, Lynn organized a district talent showing last year.

I could write on and on about the passion and dedication with which Lynn Selkirk teaches students and collaborates with her peers. She is one of the finest teachers I’ve worked with in my career here in Monticello.


Ms. Tamara Coney, Teacher
Nominated by William Frandino, Chase Elementary Principal

Mrs. Coney consistently facilitates extra-program activities for the benefit of students.

The short list of initiatives managed by Mrs. Coney include:

  • The “Mighty Milers” morning student walking group
  • “Make It Awesome” awards presented each month
  • “Crazy Sneaker” award (weekly for classes that have 100% sneakers)
  • “Fuel-Up to Play 60” earned trip to regional activity with students
  • “Jump Rope for Heart”
  • Recipient of 2016 “Catskill Zone Get Moving” video contest- award/grant
  • Entered 2017 “Catskill Zone Get Moving” video contest

Mrs. Coney makes innovative use of technology within physical education classes. Mrs. Coney was the primary advocate for iPads and an interactive television for the gym; and these items are used daily to track student progress, present learning, and create videos to demonstrate skills.

Mrs. Coney remains informed of research related to fitness and nutritional health by consistently participating in professional development and in state conferences sponsored by physical education professional organizations.

Mrs. Coney generates significant enthusiasm and excitement for our building. This positive spirit spills over into all areas of our learning environment and we appreciate it.


Elisa Mendels, Social Worker
Nominated by Sandra Johnson-Fields, Cooke Elementary Principal and Rosemarie Romano, Cooke Elementary Assistant Principal

Elisa MendelsElisa is our Social Emotional Wellness Facilitator. She is energetic, enthusiastic and a positive role model for our students and faculty.

Elisa is always going above and beyond to do whatever it takes to make the Cooke School a place where students want to come to learn and adults enjoy coming to work. She volunteers on many committees.

Elisa was a social worker in our district for 18 years. She decided to become the SEW Facilitator so she can have the opportunity to impact every single student at the Cooke School.

Elisa teaches lessons on anti-bullying, identifying feelings, appropriate expression, social skills, teamwork, empathy, compassion, and respect. Elisa also incorporates yoga and mindfulness activities into her lessons as a way to teach our students ways to self-calm, focus, and become more in tune with their bodies and emotions.

We are fortunate to have Elisa as a member of our faculty.


Mr. Michael Regan, Social Worker
Nominated by Stephen Wilder, High School Principal

Michael ReganMichael Regan is driven to help ensure our students who struggle most learn the academic, social and emotional skills they need to be Life Ready. Michael has been instrumental in developing our ASPIRE program at the high school and middle school levels. ASPIRE stands for Achieving Success through Preparation, Inspiration, Readiness, and Enthusiasm. Michael took a conceptual plan for the program and made it work through his daily efforts and creative problem solving. Now, Michael is using the successful lessons learned from developing our ASPIRE program for in-school suspension and applying it to our after-school detention program. The intent of his efforts is to help ensure our students productively use their time to learn to become more Life Ready and to ensure greater accountability for students to take responsibility for themselves and their actions through a focus on the growth mindset. The ASPIRE program has had a positive impact on our students and our school community resulting in more students learning valuable skills to more effectively navigate circumstances they are confronted with in life.

To support students at risk of dropping out or becoming involved in the criminal justice system, Michael developed a program to help them envision options for their life. Michael has coordinated visits to local colleges, prisons, and workplaces for students to learn about what each has to offer, both positively and negatively. These have been powerful experiences for students and we are looking to continue this program for more students.

In addition, Michael continues to plan for more experiences to celebrate student achievement and growth. We are close to developing a recognition program for students who demonstrate significant growth in their academic and/or behavioral outcomes.

Whether it is resolving conflict through mediation, developing programs with colleagues to support student success, or creating opportunities for students to experience different opportunities in life, Michael Regan is trusted to help make it happen. We are fortunate to have Michael on our team and contributing to the success of our students.


Nicole Marcocci, Laura McAndrew and Joseph Prestianni, Support Staff
Nominated by Dana Taylor, Innovation Instigator/Supervisor of SpecialPrograms and Shelley Rossitto, Executive Director of Technology

Marcocci, McAndrew, Prestianni

Joe, Nicole and Laura were instrumental in the planning of the 2/17 InspirED by Learning Conference Day. They went above and beyond their duties assigned to them by the district to ensure the day ran smoothly. Without their assistance, people would have been hungry, unregistered and lost with no place to park.


Ms. Omnia Elghaly, Support Staff
Nominated by Sandra Johnson-Fields, Cooke Elementary Principal and Rosemarie Romano, Cooke Elementary Assistant Principal

Omania Elghaly

Omnia goes above and beyond in her duties as a lunch aide as well as the Coordinator of the Waste Reduction Program. Omnia is positive and enthusiastic about making changes in order to improve the culture of the cafeteria for both students and staff. She is creative and has amazing ideas to transform the student cafeteria. A recent idea that she put forward was to have the students name the cafeteria. Students voted for the new name “Cooke Café”. Omnia has a monthly schedule of different ways for students to earn awards by showing kindness, caring and having responsibilities in the Café. Ms. Elghaly is caring and works well with others. With her guidance the Cooke Café is becoming a fun place to eat lunch and socialize.


Ms. Debra Heins, Support Staff
Nominated by Sara Kozachuk, RJK Middle School Assistant Principal

Debra heinsMrs. Heins has been an asset to our district for almost 30 years. In her role as Attendance Officer, Mrs. Heins works tirelessly to make connections with our Monticello families. Debbie is recognized by many in our school community, as she has worked with several generations of our Monticello families.

Mrs. Heins goes on home visits, brings students to and from school, and also works with outside agencies to ensure that our students and their families have the supports they need to get the most out of their education.

Although she is stationed in the middle school, Debbie meets the needs of schools across the district. Of late she is mentoring Mr. Walker, the newest member of the attendance team.

Mrs. Debra Heins is a smiling face and a shining example of what Monticello alumni are made of!


Ms. Kelly Krier-Rodriguez, Support staff
Nominated by Michelle Knowlton, Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary Principal

Krier-RodriguezI am writing to nominate a Teaching Assistant whose dedication and hard work ensures that Rutherford runs smoothly each day. Kelly starts her morning making sure that all our students disembark the buses and enter the building safely and then ends the day by giving the ok to depart.

Ms. Krier-Rodriguez oversees our ALC room. When students are having a difficult day or need a break from class Kelly meets them at the door with a smile, calms them down and in most cases gets them ready to go back to class. She works with each student on their school work. She has made a connection with many of our most struggling students in the building and can be seen encouraging all student’s to do their best.

Testing season can be stressful for both students and staff. During testing season, Kelly works with Doug to make sure that all our students receive their test modifications and appropriate assignments. She is someone who does many jobs and goes above and beyond for students and staff. Kelly is a team player who helps out whenever and wherever she is needed.

Simply put she is an amazing person and huge asset to Rutherford and the MCSD community. Kelly was also recently recognized by our KLR staff as the employee of the month for January.


Ms. Maryanne March, Support Staff
Nomintaed by Jason Doyle, RJK Middle School Assistant Principal

Maryanne March

Mrs. Maryanne March is currently serving as RJK Guidance Secretary. Faculty, staff, students, and parents have had the pleasure of collaboratively working with Mrs. March in the Guidance Suite since October 2016. Prior to this role, Maryanne served as Attendance Clerk for the middle school and summer school secretary. In that capacity, Mrs. March tracked student cuts, lates, and and verified progress/grade reports cards. Today, Mrs. March is an immense asset to the middle school guidance counselors, social works, psychologists, assistant principals, teachers, and support staff. Most recently during Student Led Conferences, Mrs. March organized the event, collaborated with parents/guardians, and disaggregated data. All educational stakeholders are grateful for Maryanne’s hard-work, professionalism, and dedication.


Mr. Trent Gray, Support Staff
Nominated by James Ryan, Director of P.E., Health & Athletics and Christopher Russo P.E. Teacher and Coach

Trent GrayI would like you to know how much I enjoy working with Trent. He is kind, gracious, and hard working. In fact, when I introduce him to other coaches and guests, I frequently say, "This is Trent, the hardest working man in Monticello." Trent goes out of his way to get things prepared for games and help others accomplish their duties in their workstations. Trent never stops; he is always doing something to keep our gym area, locker rooms, hallways, and offices clean. He takes tremendous pride in his work, is kind and courteous to staff and students, and is always there to lend a hand. If something needs to be done, Trent will take care of it. He is so reliable and willing to help. He checks with me every day to see if we need anything extra or different. One of the bright spots in my day is seeing Trent - a simple "Hey Coach, how is it going?" while he is in the middle of his work always brings a smile to my face.

Trent is one of the hidden treasures of Monticello CSD. Immensely valuable, but often under appreciated. Most people only tend to notice a custodian when the bathroom isn't clean or the garbage is overflowing. Trent wants to make everything look perfect, but never wants anyone to notice that he is responsible for that perfection. I cannot imagine a game or practice without him.


Raheem Brown, Autum Bivins, Maredith Parks, Robert Rodriguez, Emily Wells, Adriana Bracy, Steven Stanford, Noam Naiman and Leopoldine Alves-Araujo, Students
Nominated by Dana Taylor, Innovation Instigator/Supervisor of Special Programs and Shelley Rossitto, Executive Director of Technology

Board award-winning students

Without the support of these amazing students, we would have never been able to pull the February 17th conference day off. Typical students will never volunteer to come to school on a day off, these are not your typical students. These kids showed up as early as 6 a.m. to support us. They hung signs, directed traffic in the hallways, managed lunch distribution and remained at our beckon call for whatever we needed. Their service to the school is admirable.


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 Alpine Skiing – 95.46%
Coach: Jim Bates

Sarah Grodin
Morgan Mitchell
Sarah Shamah
Drew Taylor
Emily Wells
Megan Wells

Girl Alpine Skiing students


Girls Indoor Track – 95.41%
Coach: Tim Billias

Samantha Bisland
Lillie Carnell
Jillian McEneaney

Girls Indoor Track Students


Nordic Skiing – 93.73%
Coach: Scott Fitchett

Ashley Feldman
Thomas Nola
Christopher Pintado
William Waterton

Nordic Skiing students


Boys Alpine Skiing – 92.60%
Coach: Steven Duarte

Luke Farrow
Kyle Foss
James Giglio
Ryan Grodin
Christopher Pitula
Jack Rein

Boys alpine skiing students


 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 Indoor Track

Aidan Dietz
Jonah Lilley
Christian Pedroza
Evan Waterton
William Waterton
Christopher Vanwarrebey

Boys indoor track students



Ariel Bourgeois
Kayla Desouza-Stewart
Erica Jahn
Hailee Quiles
Sierra Wayman

Cheerleading students


Girls Basketball

Na-eelah Shackelford
Destiny Bridges



Justyn Kelly

Colby Rivas

Wrestling students