MTMS 2021 Teacher and ESP of the Year
Manchester Township Middle School's 2021 Teacher of the Year, Renee Strange, and ESP of the Year, Susan Dilloian, were honored at the May 12, 2021 Board of Education meeting.
Teacher of the Year Renee Strange
Introduction by Principal Nancy Driber
It is with great pleasure that I introduce Mrs.Renee Strange as the middle school Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Strange is joined here tonight by her husband Jason and her sons Liam and Owen. She is a graduate of Bloomsburg University and has taught at the Manchester Middle School for the past 18 years.
Mrs. Strange has built a career around helping school students with special needs and built a life around helping the community. As a teacher of 21 years, she established herself as an accomplished teacher who has earned the respect of parents and colleagues. Her teaching style reflects her own life. She demands a lot from her students while promoting a caring environment where all students thrive regardless of their challenges. Mrs. Strange has established herself as an outstanding teacher and, after a successful accomplished career as a math teacher, she embraced a new endeavor by taking on the challenge of teaching the multiple disabled students. She has approached this new role the way she has always approached every aspect of her life - with an exemplary work ethic, positive attitude, and the energy often seen from a brand new teacher.
It is not surprising that Mrs. Strange has shaped the MD class herself. She not only brings the demand for high level of performance from her students but she has expanded their experiences by bringing the community into her classroom and bringing her students into the community. In particular, Mrs. Strange has helped create Mustang Joe's, a small business run by her students that sells coffee and snacks to the faculty and staff. The classroom business has created opportunities for students’ career readiness and social skills in a real world environment. Also, in this very challenging year, Mrs. Strange has brought a variety of on-level instructional platforms into her class, keeping instruction consistent even during remote situations. In addition to her commitment to students, Mrs. Strange actively participates in a variety of charitable organizations including the Kevin's Kids holiday drive. Mrs. Strange plays a key role in fundraising events and is an organizer and a facilitator.
Once again, I would like to congratulate Renee and her family for her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck as she begins the journey as Manchester Township Middle School Teacher Of The Year.
Remarks by Renee Strange
It is an honor to be here tonight surrounded by so many talented, passionate and dedicated educators. This has been a humbling experience for me. I really don't have the words to show how much it means to me to have been nominated by my peers for Teacher of the Year at the middle school. This has certainly been a year with many many challenges and obstacles but it has given me the opportunity to see what I am thankful for. I am fortunate to have extraordinary colleagues at the middle school and am grateful for their support each and every day. I would not be standing here without them. Our staff makes my vision for education a reality. I am thankful to have a supportive administration who gave me the opportunity to take on the new role at the middle school. And last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for the love and support of my family. A special thank you to my husband and my two boys Liam and Owen. Even at the end of a very long day, when all my patience seems to be gone, my family is always there for me, understanding and supportive. I'm thankful to be part of such a great school district. Thank you.
MTMS ESP of the Year
Introduction by Vice Principal Steven Ninivaggi
I want to welcome Susan, her husband, her daughters Kristen and Lauren. I'm sure you're very proud of her. It is a well-deserved honor.
I want to start with the stories. Sue is a professional in our autism program. A few years ago, we had a paraprofessional who was having difficulty supporting a mainstream autistic student. Sue volunteered to work alongside her colleague and model how to implement some new behavioral strategies that would help the student be successful, and it worked. With Sue's help, her colleague and the student thrived. That's Sue, the consummate team player. She makes everybody better around her by her presence.
As a paraprofessional, she brings positive energy and a caring heart to the classroom every day. She takes the time to really get to know her students and is often able to stop negative behaviors before they start. This is an important quality of a paraprofessional in the autism program. She's an expert at quickly evaluating the situation and knowing which behavioral strategy would best help a student get back on track and have a good day. This is because she pays attention, she observes and takes the time to get to know her students. Just as importantly, she is committed to learning and refining her skills. She meets regularly with Mrs. Defino, the classroom teacher, to discuss and learn new strategies and she's always seeking out online resources or workshops that can make her a better support for the teacher and the students in the classroom.
Susan's impact reaches beyond the classroom. At the height of the COVID 19 quarantine last year she organized, along with her fellow paraprofessionals, a gift card donation for Manchester Township police officers and emergency workers, and beyond that she baked and distributed her baked goods to front line workers as a thank you for all they were doing for all of us. She told me one day, “I just do things the way I would want them done for me or my family.” As a result, she is often able to reach the most challenging students and understand them. Her input is invaluable to teachers, counselors, and administrators who are trying to find ways to support children so they can succeed.
On behalf of her Manchester Middle school family, I want to thank Sue for all she's done and all she continues to do. Congratulations!
Remarks by Susan Dilloian
I'd like to begin by thanking Mr. Trethaway, the board members and my administrators, Mrs. Driber and Mr. Ninivaggi. I am humbled and I'm honored. I would also like to thank Carolyn Defino. Carolyn, thank you for believing in me and embracing me as your co-pilot as you were beginning the autism program at the middle school. We started out as strangers and quickly bonded to our common goal of wanting to give our students the best education possible. Thank you to my family for all of your love and support as a mother and as a professional. Nothing brings me more fulfillment than to see my daughters and my children in school succeed. Thank you to my fellow paraprofessionals for coming out to support me tonight and for the support you give your students each and every day.
I'd like to conclude with an African proverb that states ‘if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.’ I am proud to be part of the middle school staff that always goes far together for all of its students. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
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