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Throughout the year, Teacher in the Spotlight will shine the light on teachers and staff who do exceptional things
for our students and go above and beyond each and every day.


The spotlight is on Deena Tanzman!


This week’s Teacher Spotlight is focused on Deena Tanzman, RJK Middle School's teaching aide and coordinator of the middle school's Backpack Program. Ms. Tanzman has been a teacher’s aide since 1997, originally in a special education classroom and for the last 10 years in the guidance office.

Ms. Tanzman greets parents and students alike. Every day she meets with students to sign them up for tutorials, assuring that they receive extra help, and organizes tutorial snacks as well. She runs Student of the Month, a program where students are recognized and nominated by their teachers for showing improvement and good citizenship. These students have a special photo taken and attend a quarterly trip to destinations such as West Point or Bethel Woods.

This year Ms. Tanzman helped implement the RJK Backpack program, which provides meals to Monticello students during weekends and holidays when resources may not be readily available. She established a Gofundme page to raise money digitally and worked closely with Catskill Hudson Bank, which serves as a collection point for food donations. Ms. Tanzman shops, organizes and gives out more than 20 backpacks each week.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch or a smile. Deena never does. She gives out hugs and smiles throughout the day. She is a positive person who genuinely cares about students, staff and faculty alike. She puts the sunshine into our office, RJK Middle School Principal Nichole Horler said.

Ms. Tanzman goes above and beyond each and every day, with her focus always on the well-being of the students. She is a warm and welcoming face to middle school students, on their good days and not-so-good days. She is known for her compassionate, gentle way of dealing with students who may be dealing with hardships and crisis.

"I have watched Deena's work since I joined the district more than 14 years ago," said 8th grade social studies teacher Robert E. Keesler. Her contributions to the student body as a whole is unmatched by anyone, anywhere. She has a gift for making students feel comfortable, even in times of crisis. I am exceptionally proud to call her my colleague."

Congratulations, Ms. Tanzman!


We applaud you for being greater than the average!