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Celebrating South Huntington's Teachers of the Year

“The teachers being honored tonight continue to exhibit a passion for their craft and are steadfast in their mission to foster the development of both character and essential competencies in our youth so that they may experience a lifetime filled with wellness and achievement. They have truly earned our deepest appreciation.” - Deputy Superintendent Dr. Joseph Centamore thumbnail162211
“The teachers being honored tonight continue to exhibit a passion for their craft and are steadfast in their mission to foster the development of both character and essential competencies in our youth so that they may experience a lifetime filled with wellness and achievement. They have truly earned our deepest appreciation.” - Deputy Superintendent Dr. Joseph Centamore
(bottom right to left) Deputy Superintendent Dr. Joe Centamore, Walt Whitman Principal John Murphy, Board President Nick Ciappetta, Board Vice President Laura Carey, Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Superintendent Dr. Dave Bennardo, and South Huntington’s Teachers Union President Dennis Callihan join in congratulating South Huntington’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Rose Bunnell.  thumbnail162212
(bottom right to left) Deputy Superintendent Dr. Joe Centamore, Walt Whitman Principal John Murphy, Board President Nick Ciappetta, Board Vice President Laura Carey, Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Superintendent Dr. Dave Bennardo, and South Huntington’s Teachers Union President Dennis Callihan join in congratulating South Huntington’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Rose Bunnell.
“Ms. Chapman’s classroom is a place where students feel safe to take risks and support the learning of their peers. She crafts lessons that challenge all of her students while engaging them in meaningful learning.” - spoke Stimson Principal Mr. Smith, who joins in congratulating Ms. Chapman along with her family, Board members and administration.  thumbnail162213
“Ms. Chapman’s classroom is a place where students feel safe to take risks and support the learning of their peers. She crafts lessons that challenge all of her students while engaging them in meaningful learning.” - spoke Stimson Principal Mr. Smith, who joins in congratulating Ms. Chapman along with her family, Board members and administration.
“Mr. Poller is a team player amongst his colleagues. He cheers his students on when they feel distressed or down, greets them with motivating words at his door each morning, and gets his students to entertain possibilities that stretch the limits of their beliefs.” - Silas Wood Principal Mr. Toto shared as he was joined by Mr. Poller’s family, Board members and administrators in congratulating him.  thumbnail162214
“Mr. Poller is a team player amongst his colleagues. He cheers his students on when they feel distressed or down, greets them with motivating words at his door each morning, and gets his students to entertain possibilities that stretch the limits of their beliefs.” - Silas Wood Principal Mr. Toto shared as he was joined by Mr. Poller’s family, Board members and administrators in congratulating him.
“Whether in a stand-alone or side by side setting, Mrs. Gomez teaches all her students with the same passion and dedication. She is an outstanding teacher and we are proud that she is our Teacher of the Year.” - Maplewood Principal Dr. Steele shared as she was joined by Board members and district administration in congratulating Mrs. Gomez.  thumbnail162215
“Whether in a stand-alone or side by side setting, Mrs. Gomez teaches all her students with the same passion and dedication. She is an outstanding teacher and we are proud that she is our Teacher of the Year.” - Maplewood Principal Dr. Steele shared as she was joined by Board members and district administration in congratulating Mrs. Gomez.
“Mrs. Wright is one of the most community minded teachers I know. She is driven to improve both the community she lives in and the one she works in. Mrs. Wright searches for ideas to improve the lives of the families at Birchwood and in South Huntington by spearheading committees that are all about giving back.” - shared Birchwood Principal Mr. Ciccarelli as he congratulates Mrs. Wright alongside Board members and district administrators.  thumbnail162216
“Mrs. Wright is one of the most community minded teachers I know. She is driven to improve both the community she lives in and the one she works in. Mrs. Wright searches for ideas to improve the lives of the families at Birchwood and in South Huntington by spearheading committees that are all about giving back.” - shared Birchwood Principal Mr. Ciccarelli as he congratulates Mrs. Wright alongside Board members and district administrators.
“Ms. Lopez develops positive relationships with her students so she can better under­stand each child who walks through her classroom door and provide them with the love and support they need to be a success. Her high expectations allow students to see themselves as capable and the drivers of their learning.” - spoke Oakwood Principal Dr. Michaelian, who was joined by Board members, administrators, and students from Ms. Lopez’s class in recognizing this honor. thumbnail162217
“Ms. Lopez develops positive relationships with her students so she can better under­stand each child who walks through her classroom door and provide them with the love and support they need to be a success. Her high expectations allow students to see themselves as capable and the drivers of their learning.” - spoke Oakwood Principal Dr. Michaelian, who was joined by Board members, administrators, and students from Ms. Lopez’s class in recognizing this honor.
“Rose Covington is a giver, a doer and a ‘teacher’ in every sense of the word. She leads by example, she leads with her heart and there is no doubt that she has and continues to leave a lasting impression on her students, their families, her colleagues and the entire Countrywood Family.” - shared Countrywood Principal Mr. Levy, who was joined by Ms. Covington’s students, Board members, and administration in congratulating her.  thumbnail162218
“Rose Covington is a giver, a doer and a ‘teacher’ in every sense of the word. She leads by example, she leads with her heart and there is no doubt that she has and continues to leave a lasting impression on her students, their families, her colleagues and the entire Countrywood Family.” - shared Countrywood Principal Mr. Levy, who was joined by Ms. Covington’s students, Board members, and administration in congratulating her.
Musical Dedications from Hailey Caserta (right), who sang “Deh Vieni, Non Tandar” by Mozart, and Janna Garden (left), who performed “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran in Italian, were both outstanding and touching.   thumbnail162219
Musical Dedications from Hailey Caserta (right), who sang “Deh Vieni, Non Tandar” by Mozart, and Janna Garden (left), who performed “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran in Italian, were both outstanding and touching.
Assemblyman Stern joined in recognizing this year’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Rose Bunnell. thumbnail162220
Assemblyman Stern joined in recognizing this year’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Rose Bunnell.
Legislator Berland presented the Proclamation acknowledging Mrs. Bunnell’s outstanding teaching career.  thumbnail162221
Legislator Berland presented the Proclamation acknowledging Mrs. Bunnell’s outstanding teaching career.
“While these individuals represent a wide array of disciplines, there are two things they have in common: their love for their students and their dedication to the art of teaching,” expressed South Huntington’s Teachers Union President Dennis Callihan. “It is simply humbling to be in the presence of these 7 fine educators.”  thumbnail162222
“While these individuals represent a wide array of disciplines, there are two things they have in common: their love for their students and their dedication to the art of teaching,” expressed South Huntington’s Teachers Union President Dennis Callihan. “It is simply humbling to be in the presence of these 7 fine educators.”

The South Huntington Teacher of the Year Awards were held on Wednesday, January 29th at Walt Whitman’s Performing Arts Center. Family, friends and the community joined in acknowledging this year’s outstanding teachers. “The Teacher of the Year Program is a proud and deeply rooted tradition in South Huntington and it is our annual opportunity to highlight our finest educators,” opened Deputy Superintendent Dr. Joseph Centamore. “These individuals have been identified by their respective schools, as possessing exceptional instructional skills as well as a dedication to fostering the learning and growth of our students.” 

With Dr. Joseph Centamore emceeing the celebratory evening, the program began by acknowledging Walt Whitman High School teacher and South Huntington’s Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Rose Bunnell. This was a much-anticipated evening as the South Huntington Board of Education and the district’s administrators gave well-deserved recognition and praise to each of their top teachers. “Accompanying every student achievement or District award, is a devoted, motivated, hard working teacher,” acknowledged Board President Nick Ciappetta. “Mrs. Bunnell represents everything that a teacher should be and everything that we expect our teachers in South Huntington to be. She is warm, caring, funny, dedicated, and enthusiastic.”

Congratulations to...

South Huntington School District’s Teacher of the Year- Rose Bunnell
Throughout our careers, we are rarely acknowledged for all the positive work we do. In the case of Mrs. Rose Bunnell, this could not be truer. Her guidance, leadership and poise have added to the overall demeanor of the building. In truth, Mrs. Bunnell has ultimately shaped the culture of the building through her mentorship of both student and faculty alike. While many would have become complacent or rigid in their instruction, Mrs. Bunnell has continued to grow and encompass new elements and ideas to motivate and inspire.
The daughter of immigrants from Italy, Mrs. Bunnell came to the U.S. not knowing the language. This experience inspired her to teach language, knowing the struggles she felt as a child and the power of mastering a language can have on people. Within her time at high school she decided to dedicate herself to the study of language, taking Spanish, French and Italian. After graduating from Commack High School, Rose Bunnell attended CW Post receiving her Bachelors in Italian Language and Masters in TESOL. Over the course of her 37-year career, Mrs. Bunnell has taught both Spanish and Italian to the students of Whitman. She has touched the lives of so many students, reinventing her own practice and style to fit the needs of an ever-changing population. 

Stimson Teacher of the Year- Kerry Chapman
Ms. Chapman truly is a teacher of teachers and can be relied on to take leadership roles within her department and building-wide. She works tirelessly to ensure her students benefit from her pedagogy, staying current with the latest trends in teaching and how to use technology to foster a blended learning environment. Ms. Chapman's passion for her students and teaching has supported the school culture, where her positivity impacts all who have the pleasure of coming into contact with her. This school year she supports the learning of her colleagues in her role as Technology Mentor. In this capacity, she can often be found working collaboratively with her colleagues, supporting the integration of instructional technology within their instruction. 

Silas Wood Teacher of the Year- Joseph Poller
Mr. Poller, who is presently in his 22nd year teaching in the South Huntington School District, is a leader who inspires, motivates, excites, understands his students, and "sparks" their love of science. Mr. Poller is the kind of teacher that does not just teach the skills and strategies that students need in order to be successful, but he also looks for opportunities where the more important life lessons can be taught. He is a positive role model to all students who cross his path. He enthusiastically engages his students through his creativity and talents and encourages them to be lifelong learners.

Maplewood Teacher of the Year- Jessica Gomez
Mrs. Jessica Gomez has been a Dual Language teacher in South Huntington for 15 years. She is a member of the L.I. Latino Teachers Association and is among a select group of professionals invited to conduct an educator review aligning grade level academic demands to the Next Generation ELA Standards for English Language Learners. She continuously seeks out ways to make a difference in her field knowing this will broaden the educational opportunities for her students. Mrs. Gomez is a dedicated professional. She is a strong advocate for her students and has a genuine concern for their overall well-being. Jessica Gomez is a true asset to the Maplewood faculty.

Birchwood Teacher of the Year- Barbara Wright
Mrs. Barbara Wright has been teaching in South Huntington since 2001. She has taught Kindergarten, First and Second Grade at Countrywood and Third and Fifth Grade at Birchwood. Mrs. Wright is a dedicated professional who is genuinely concerned about the personal growth and intellectual development of her students. Barbara is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to engage her students. Mrs. Wright advocates for her students in any way she can to provide guidance and support. We are very proud that Mrs. Wright is Birchwood's Teacher of the Year!

Countrywood Teacher of the Year- Rose Covington
Ms. Covington started teaching kindergarten at Countrywood in 1997 and has been a "kindergartener" ever since. Rose says she always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She remembers looking up to her elementary school teachers and knew then that this was what she wanted to become. Ms. Covington views Countrywood as her second home and feels truly blessed to work with such a wonderful and caring group of educators who have been family to her over the last 20+ years. Rose takes her job seriously and values the friendships that she has built with colleagues, past and present, as well as former students and their families that she remains close with after all of these years.

Oakwood Teacher of the Year- Andrea Lopez
Ms. Lopez is a shining example of inspiration and dedication and is and asset to Oakwood Primary Center and the South Huntington Family. Andrea joined the South Huntington family in 2011 and has been touching the lives of children ever since. Ms. Lopez started her career as an ENL educator at Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center and Oakwood Primary Center, providing support to English Language Learners helping them soar to the highest of heights. In 2014, Ms. Lopez joined Oakwood in a new role as a 1st grade teacher in the Dual Language Program. While at Oakwood, Ms. Lopez has gained the respect and trust of her colleagues, administration, students, and families. Her passion for teaching and learning is palpable. Currently, Ms. Lopez serves as a Technology Mentor and works in collaboration with colleagues to promote technology experiences in the Coding Program.

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