Presenting the first quarter Successories winners: From the left are 3rd grade teaching assistant Jennifer Szumowski, 7th grade teaching assistant Christy Wallace, BPES speech language pathologist Gail DeCicco, 5th grade special education teacher Nicole Lonczak and 7th & 8th grade science teacher, Natasha Hakim.
Jennifer Szumowski wins the day off!
B-P Yeti travel mugs will be awarded to Christy Wallace (Jr. HS),
Gail DeCicco (BPES), Nicole Lonczak (BPES) and Natasha Hakim (Jr. HS).
We are proud to announce the first quarter Successories winners for the 2020-21 school year! 3rd grade teaching assistant Jennifer Szumowski will receive a personal day, which Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson will cover. Our other Successory recipients will receive a B-P Yeti travel mug. All award winners are entered into a drawing which will take place in June. A grand prize winner will randomly be selected from the pool to win a $100 gift card!
Please read below to hear why each of these five amazing B-P educators were chosen to win a Successories Award this quarter!
BPES: 3rd grade teaching assistant
Jen Szumowski has been in education for 20 years, 10 of which have been right here at Broadalbin-Perth. Besides her love for the classroom, she is very active with extracurricular activities at B-P, having served as the director of the BPES Drama Club since its inception in 2018. Previously, she has been an Odyssey of the Mind coach, FLL coach, Newspaper Club co-adviser, Think Tank TA, LEAP Club adviser, and Young Innovators TA. She was the 2016 recipient of the Outstanding Patriot Award.
Szumowski was nominated for her Successories Award by a B-P parent who wanted to acknowledge her hard work in producing last spring’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
The nomination read: “Jen is a ‘doer’ who makes things happen. Against all odds, she found a way to make ‘The Wizard of Oz’ happen in 2020. She was determined that ‘the show must go on… Jen is kind, compassionate, selfless, determined, motivated, creative and a tremendous asset to the B-P community.”
“I am extremely humbled and touched to even be considered for this award,” Szumowski said. “I love working for the B-P school district — caring for and working with the students and educators in this community means everything to me. Creating our drama club has been a dream of mine. I love teaching students the fundamentals of theater and helping them learn skills that will last them a lifetime.”
BPHS: 7th grade teaching assistant
Christy Wallace has worked at Broadalbin-Perth since 2018, but her B-P roots go much further than that. She is the proud parent of a recent B-P graduate and currently has three other children who attend the school. She currently works as a teaching assistant with the 7th grade team at B-P Junior High School. She received three Successory nominations, all of which came from her colleagues.
Wallace’s nominations commented on her strengths as a teammate, her patience in helping her students stay organized and her kindness as a colleague.
One colleague wrote, “Christy is an amazing teaching assistant and always goes above and beyond to make sure the students are successful. She helps keep track of students’ progress and provides the students with checklists to help keep them organized.”
Another wrote: “Christy exudes patience and kindness, which helps all of our students feel supported and at ease during this challenging time.”
A third colleague wrote: “Each morning and afternoon, Christy checks in with me to see how I’m doing and if there is anything she can help me with — and she is quick to share some chocolate each afternoon! She is a kind, compassionate, and caring person, and I look forward to working with her every day.”
“I am humbled and honored to have my efforts recognized,” Wallace said. “I work with a great group of teachers who work hard for their kids and make sure they are getting the education they deserve. When I check on them throughout the day, I just want them to know that they are not doing this alone. I am here to take the little things from them so they don’t feel overwhelmed, We are all in this together. To be successful we have to work as a team to get it done.”
BPES: Speech Language Pathologist
Gail DeCicco has worked in education as a speech-language pathologist for nine years, the last five of which have been dedicated to elementary students at Broadalbin-Perth. Outside of the classroom, she has served as a coach for the Broadalbin-Perth softball program since 2017.
DeCicco’s Successory nomination came from a B-P parent who wanted to recognize the hard work and dedication she has shown towards helping her child. The parent noted that her child has had difficulties with her speech since infancy, and now that she is working with Mrs. DeCicco, the student has received several compliments on how much her speech has improved since the start of the school year.
“When we are at home, we can see her applying what she is learning in her speech sessions — it’s really amazing to see,” the parent wrote. “We are so proud of our daughter and we are so thankful for Mrs. DeCicco.”
“I am so thankful to the family that nominated me and feel honored to receive this award,” DeCicco said. “Helping children communicate is my passion, so when parents share with me that they are seeing progress, I am thrilled! It takes a partnership between home and school and I am thankful for all of my families and the work we do together.”
BPES: 5th grade special education teacher
Nicole Lonczak has spent her entire nine-year career in education with the Broadalbin-Perth School District. In the first six years of her career, she taught special education and AIS math to students in grades 3-5. For the past three years, she has served as B-P’s fifth grade special education teacher.
Lonczak’s Successory nomination came from a very grateful family member of one of her students, with compliments on her work ethic both in the classroom and during virtual learning sessions, and appreciation for her ability to keep her students focused and on task. This particular child receives extra help a few times a month, which the family member describes as “over and above her responsibilities,” noting “but that shows what a dedicated teacher she truly is.”
“Mrs. Lonczak is having a baby soon but that hasn’t slowed her down,” the nominator wrote. “I admire her enthusiastic attitude and patience with the students. Mrs. Lonczak has a cute giggle and continues to show her personality while keeping the students on task… We will miss her immensely when she goes out on maternity leave!”
“I really appreciate being nominated for this Successory Award,” Lonczak said. “We were all thrown into this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic together, so it is rewarding to work with our students’ families to try our best to meet their child’s needs whether they are working in an in-person or a remote setting. It is great to work with such supportive families and know that the hard work is appreciated. It has definitely taken a team effort to get through these challenging times!”
BPHS: 7th & 8th grade science teacher
B-P is so lucky that Ms. Natasha Hakim’s plans to become a doctor changed during her junior year at SUNY Oneonta and, instead, she decided to pursue a career in education. Hakim joined Broadalbin-Perth at the beginning of this school year and teaches seventh and eighth grade science to students at the junior high school. Her love of teaching was solidified when she had the opportunity to go into science classrooms to observe and assist through the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. She says her favorite science topics to teach about are genetics and physiology.
“One of my favorite labs to do involves setting up a mock crime scene and doing gel electrophoresis with students to solve it,” she said. “I hope to run a science research program in the future.”
Hakim graduated from Oneonta in the spring, so this year has been her first experience as a classroom teacher.
“I love all the support and enthusiasm my colleagues have for teaching and the students,” she said. “I am really loving B-P and feel at home already!”
Hakim’s nomination came from one of her science students: “Thank you for making learning science fun! I really like how clearly you explain how to do the work. I like the at-home experiments, and they make learning fun and easier when we are not in school.”
“In a difficult time to start my teaching career, it meant so much to hear that I am having an impact on my students,” Hakim said. “I look forward to seeing my students’ smiles each day. Connecting with them is the best part of my job. My students’ enthusiasm for learning and science keeps me going! The student’s sentiments were encouraging and heartwarming. I feel so honored!”