4Q Successories: Teachers, staff honored for supporting students

Collage of five school employees with B-P logo on the left
Presenting the fourth quarter Successories winners: From the left are physical education teacher/coach Jeff Richards of the TLC, kindergarten teacher Christiane Gifford of TLC, teaching assistant Jen Cetnar of the IS, custodian Pat Crannell of the MS and social studies teacher Christine Kotraba of the HS.

TLC teacher and coach Jeff Richards wins the day off

Gift cards to be awarded to Christiane Gifford (TLC), Jen Cetnar (IS), Pat Crannell (MS) & Christine Kotraba (HS)

We’re proud to announce the 4th Quarter Successories winners! Congratulations to all of this quarter’s winners and nominees! The grand prize winner, picked from everyone nominated this year, will be drawn before the end of June. They receive a $100 gift card.

Parent to Jeff Richards: ‘Thank you for believing in my daughter and helping her to succeed not only as an athlete, but as a person’

PE teacher and coach
Jeff Richards

Mr. Richards has taught at B-P for 19 years and just finished his 20th year as a coach at B-P. He spent his first three years as a BOCES employee, splitting his time teaching and coaching at B-P and Mayfield. His dream came true when he was hired as a full-time physical education teacher at B-P. Mr. Richards wife Caitlin is a kindergarten teacher at TLC.

Mr. Richards received a nomination from a grateful parent of one of his track athletes. He gravitated toward this student-athlete because of her dedication and perseverance. This student-athlete and Mr. Richards’s wife both struggle with Crohn’s disease.

“She was so happy to attend track and be around such a supportive coach who helped her believe in herself and that she could do anything on the track and off,” the nomination says.

Mr. Richards coaches varsity, but as a mid-distance runner this modified student-athlete worked directly with him and made a big impression.

“On her final meet of the year, we asked her to do something she had never done before – run the 3000,” Mr. Richards said. “Up to that point, the longest race she had done was a 1500. She was a bit nervous about this, but did so because she knew this was the best way she could help the team. This is why I feel so connected to her. She is already doing everything I want my senior athletes to do as a seventh-grader – put team goals ahead of individual ones. I have coached for 20 years and have many memories, but her 3000 is one I will forever remember. She has guts and something that cannot be coached. I was so proud of her that day and hope that I will continue to see her create even more memories for the next five years.”

“As she ran the track, the only girl from any school, he ran side to side to cheer her on and encourage her,” the nomination says recalling the day of the 3000 run. “She never thought she would be able to do it, but afterwards she told me that having coach believe in her and cheer her on made her feel like she could do anything. He has made her feel like he is her biggest fan. Modified track has brought her fresh air and new beginnings on and off the track. I would like to thank him for believing in my daughter and the encouragement he has given her to be the best she can be and to always fight and never give up.”

“I love my job as a coach and am always hoping that what I am saying or teaching is being heard,” Mr. Richards said after reading the nomination. “As a coach we spend so much time with our athletes and, thus, play such a large role in their lives. We obviously impact them athletically, but hopefully we are also affecting them in other ways. It was so nice to hear that I was making a difference in at least one of my athlete’s lives.”

Christiane Gifford (TLC)

kindergarten teacher
Christiane Gifford

Mrs. Gifford is a first-year kindergarten teacher at B-P. After working as a teaching assistant in the district from 2014-2016, she was motivated to go back to school and get her degree to become a teacher. She graduated from St. Rose in May of 2018. This was Mrs. Gifford’s second Successory nomination. 

“Our son is a very sensitive little boy and was so nervous to start kindergarten,” the nomination from a parent says. “Mrs. Gifford has gone above and beyond to make him feel happy, safe, and loved in school. He loves going to school because of her! The smile on his face each morning is absolutely priceless. We are so grateful to Mrs. Gifford for taking the time to be so compassionate and caring to her students and for helping to make every day a great day!”

“Reading my nomination was heartwarming,” Mrs. Gifford said. “I did not expect it at all and it made my day. I love teaching and do my best to get to know each of my students. It is encouraging that a parent took the time to make sure I know what I do is recognized and appreciated.”

Jen Cetnar (IS)

teaching assistant
Jen Cetnar

Mrs. Cetnar has been a TA at BPIS for five years. She was a kindergarten teacher for six years and took some time off to stay home when her children were born. During that time she substituted part time to keep herself in the education field. This was Mrs. Cetnar’s second Successory nomination and it took her by surprise. 

“Thank you for everything that you have done” the nomination says. “This child struggled to find enjoyment coming to school this year, but you are the one person she has always looked forward to seeing. You check-in with her multiple times daily, ask her how things are going and give her constant hugs. When she sees you in the office, you go well beyond your job description and have made arts and crafts with her, give her snacks and have helped her with any schoolwork she might need to complete. This student has truly looked forward to seeing you right when she gets off the bus each morning. This child would not have made it through this year without all your love and support you have provided to her.” 

“Honestly, I was completely shocked,” Mrs. Cetnar said. “Reading the nomination brought tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to this particular student and I just want to give her some love and attention that she so desperately needs. Knowing that she feels comfortable with me and looks forward to our time together makes me smile.”

Pat Crannell (MS)

Pat Crannell

Mrs. Crannell has been a custodian at both B-P campuses for 11 years, but is currently based in the middle school. She also helps in the kitchen and pitches in for snow removal. She received four Successory nominations this quarter alone.

“Pat is an amazing asset to our school,” one nomination from a colleague says. “She works her tail off trying to keep this old building looking spiffy. She continues working hard despite the difficulties of having Lyme’s Disease. Anytime she is out a day, I can tell because things aren’t nearly as clean. She always goes above and beyond washing my desks on a regular basis, washing my blackboard, washing down the walls. These are all things that seem like they are what you should expect from a custodian, but she does it without having to be asked and with pride. They have tried to move her to the high school a number of times and I have sent emails to the powers that be to keep her right here were she is needed most!”

“It feels wonderful,” Crannell said after reading the nomination. “The teachers are awesome. We all get along so great. They are good to me. I’m good to them. And it’s true, I do put pride in. I love what I do. I don’t have a problem cleaning.

Christine Kotraba (HS)

high school social studies teacher
Christine Kotraba

Mrs. Kotraba is a high school social studies teacher. She has been an educator for 21 years, 19 of which have been spent at Broadalbin-Perth. Kotraba was nominated by a student.

“Thank you for supporting us in a fun, relaxed way,” the nomination says. “Also, [thank you] for fighting for our trip to the Holocaust Museum in NYC and other opportunities. Thank you for allowing us to thrive independently and creatively.”

“I was pleasantly surprised by this nomination and I was honored that one of my students felt that

I was deserving of such an accolade,” Kotraba said. “It is something I will never forget. I have been blessed to have had wonderful students and my colleagues here at B-P are some of the most caring educators I have known.”