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Newtown's Teachers Celebrated At State Teacher Of The Year Event



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HARTFORD — Newtown teachers Jill Gonski and Janice Gabriel were among those honored and celebrated at a May 11 event at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford when the Connecticut Teacher of the Year (CCTOY) Council hosted an event for the 2021 and 2022 Connecticut District Teachers of the Year.

According to the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), hundreds attended the event. Semifinalists, finalists, and state-level honorees were all honored at the event, which was not held the previous year due to the pandemic.

Gabriel was named Newtown's Teacher of the Year for 2019-20 and Gonski was named Newtown's Teacher of the Year for 2020-21, as previously highlighted in The Newtown Bee. Newtown's Teacher of the Year awardees are chosen by a local committee and celebrated and honored locally each year.

“It was so nice to be recognized alongside Janice Gabriel, and with my fellow teachers in the state of Connecticut that are clearly making a difference in students’ lives,” Gonski said in an email after the state event.

Gonski is a special education teacher at Newtown High School and Gabriel is a theatre arts/English language arts teacher and the school's auditorium manager and fall drama advisor.

“It was an honor to be in the room with so many extraordinary teachers from across Connecticut,” Gabriel said in an email. “The ceremony was uplifting, inspiring, and motivational; after a few very difficult years, it was just what was needed. I feel so blessed to have been named Teacher of the Year, and this night is one I won’t soon forget.”

Along with Gonski and Gabriel, NHS Principal Dr Kimberly Longobucco and Newtown Assistant Superintendent of Schools Anne Uberti attended the event.

After attending the event, Longobucco reflected, “The night was filled with joy and inspiration. We are incredibly proud of Janice and Jill. Both represent our district and Newtown High School through their dedication and commitment to our students and our community. Although it was a delayed ceremony it was special in its own right bringing together double the amount of excellent educators of which Janice and Jill certainly fit the mold.”

Education Editor Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

Standing together at the May 11 Connecticut Teacher of the Year event at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford, from left, are NHS Principal Dr Kimberly Longobucco, Janice Gabriel, Jill Gonski, and Newtown Assistant Superintendent Anne Uberti.
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