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Newtown’s 2020-21 Profiles In Professionalism Honorees



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The school district’s 2020-21 Profiles in Professionalism honorees were celebrated at the Board of Education’s May 18 meeting, which was held both virtually and in the Newtown High School auditorium.

Each year district staff and community members are asked to nominate peers for the Profiles in Professionalism award. The honorees are then celebrated by the Board of Education.

Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Anne Uberti took turns reading highlights from the nominations for each honoree, and one by one they walked up to the front of the high school’s auditorium to be celebrated.

This year’s honorees are Middle Gate Elementary School executive secretary Laura Altieri; Middle Gate Elementary School school counselor Melissa Arsenault; Reed Intermediate School Assistant Principal Jill Beaudry; District Nursing Supervisor Anne Dalton; Hawley Elementary School third grade teacher Tracy Galassi; Sandy Hook Elementary School physical education teacher Jaclyn Lloyd; NHS special education teacher Amy McGinniss; Reed nurse Deirdre Murphy; Head O’ Meadow Elementary School and Middle Gate Project Challenge teacher Eric Myhill; NHS nurse Karen Powell; NHS Band Parent Corporation President Laura Taylor; and Middle Gate head custodian Richard Thorne.

Altieri was nominated for being “a hostess, a tour guide, a registrar, tech support, a counselor, a calendar keeper, and thoughtful friend to all who know her.”

Arsenault’s ability to be a calm, clear, reliable, and flexible professional earned her a stellar nomination.

After Uberti read highlights from Beaudry’s multiple nominations — which included recognizing her fairness, dedication, hard work, selflessness, and ability to create an atmosphere of safety and belonging — she added her own insight.

“As my assistant principal for six years she was always working behind the scenes to do whatever was needed to move Reed forward,” Uberti said of Beaudry.

Dalton was recognized for going above and beyond, treating everyone fairly, and for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tracy builds excitement and interest for all of her learners,” Dr Rodrigue read about the next honoree, Galassi. One of her multiple nominations was submitted by Hawley Principal Chris Moretti, who included, “When a new teacher or intern asks what is a good teacher, I point to Tracy and say, ‘Her!’ Tracy Galassi is absolutely my choice this year for Profiles in Professionalism.”

Lloyd was nominated for her calming presence, patience, compassion, and for being “there” for every single student at Sandy Hook School.

“She engages her learners in how to stay healthy and always does it with a warm and empathic demeanor. She is truly one of a kind,” Dr Rodrigue read.

Maginniss’s “legendary” investment in her job, along with all of her roles and contributions, was highlighted as part of her nomination.

Murphy’s nominations described her as an “unsung hero” and the “epitome of a school nurse.” In a year marked with pandemic disruption, she provided navigation, patience, and detailed and expert advice.

Myhill’s enthusiasm and love of learning were some of the many gifts highlighted in his nominations. A district mother wrote that she would never forget when her student came home and said, “Mom, Mr Myhill really loves math. He actually described a math problem today as ‘delicious.’

“I could only laugh at the truth of it,” she continued. “In Mr Myhill’s world, a difficult math problem is indeed a treasure to be rolled around in the mind and savored, and he so dearly wants his students to feel the same.”

Powell also received multiple nominations, including one from NHS Principal Dr Kimberly Longobucco, which read in part, “She has worked around the clock to assure that our students remain safe throughout the pandemic. She worked unimaginable hours, at night and over many consecutive weekends. She is thoughtful and caring, even when delivering the difficult news of a required quarantine, sometimes causing students to miss a beloved activity.”

Taylor’s nomination highlighted her “charge to facilitate a successful program year for the Newtown Marching Band & Guard.” It shared that her positive, contagious attitude, superior leadership, organizational management, and dedication made her the idea candidate for the Profiles in Professionalism.

While Thorne’s nomination said he would probably never want accolades, it also said, “It’s time he gets them because he deserves them all and so much more!” Along with making sure the school is “amazingly clean,” he took the added pandemic-related duties in stride.

After the celebration, Board of Education Chair Michelle Embree Ku said, “This is such a wonderful way to end this year.”

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

The district’s 2020-21 Profiles in Professionalism honorees stand together in the high school auditorium on May 18 after being celebrated by the Board of Education. —Michelle Embree Ku photo
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