PRESENTING THE 2ND QUARTER SUCCESSORIES WINNERS: From the left are Melissa Ossenfort (second grade special education teacher), Ashlyn Hillis (kindergarten teacher), Noel Ruggeri (direct consultant special education teacher for 6th grade ELA and math), Cherise Bellandi (teaching assistant, junior high school life skills) and Kameryn Curtis (operations assistant, transportation office).
Melissa Ossenfort wins the day off!
B-P Yeti travel mugs will be awarded to: Ashlyn Hillis,
Noel Ruggeri, Cherise Bellandi and Kameryn Curtis
We are proud to announce the second quarter Successories winners for the 2020-21 school year! Second grade special education teacher Melissa Ossenfort 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 employees were chosen to win a Successories Award this quarter!
Second Grade Special Education Teacher
Melissa Ossenfort has been a teacher for 14 years, the last seven of which have been at B-P. She taught for seven years at Cairo-Durham in the Catskills prior to making her way to the foothills of the Adirondacks!
Her entire career has been in elementary special education. At B-P, she teaches second grade special education and says she works with an “amazing team.” She describes being a teacher as “extremely rewarding” and says she can’t imagine being anything other than an educator.
Outside of the classroom, Ossenfort has served as a mentor and was a member of the district leadership and building leadership teams for four years. She has a dual masters degree in special education and literacy.
Ossenfort’s Successory nomination came from a co-worker, who submitted it on behalf of Ossenfort’s students. “She goes above and beyond each day to meet the very special needs of her students,” the nominator wrote. “She is an amazing person and an exceptional teacher. She is an inspiration to her students and gives them her love and compassion that they truly need on a daily basis. Thank you, Melissa, for being such a great role model!”
“I am completely shocked and honored to receive this award and so very thankful,” Ossenfort said. “The sentiments that were sent by whomever nominated me brought me to tears. My students deserve the very best that I can give each day, and helping them to grow into the wonderful little humans that they are is why I chose to be a teacher.”
Second Grade Teacher
Ashlyn Hillis teaches kindergarten at Broadalbin-Perth Elementary School. Although this is her first year at B-P, she has been a teacher for three years. She previously taught pre-K and grades K-2 self-contained special education classes in other districts.
Hillis says her favorite thing about teaching kindergarten is the fact that she can “take a child’s natural motivation to learn and turn it into a magical experience.” Her favorite lesson to teach students is that if they don’t take risks and try new things, they’ll never know what they’re capable of.
“This year I have a class that has overcome so many challenges but they continue to show up every single day ready to learn,” she said. “I am so thankful that I get to spend my days with them. Not only am I teaching them, but they are also teaching me.”
Hillis’ Successory nomination came from the parent of one of her students. The parent wanted to thank her for “going above and beyond” to help her daughter with whatever she needs, as well as helping their family get through a rough time this year. “Thank you for being an awesome teacher, mentor, and friend to all who you come in contact with,” the nomination read.
Outside of the classroom, Hillis is a member of the BPES Sunshine Committee and is working toward her masters degree in B-6 Literacy.
Direct Consultant Special Education Teacher for 6th Grade ELA and Math
Noel Ruggeri has spent 21 of her 23 years as a teacher in Broadalbin-Perth. She currently serves the district as a direct consultant special education teacher for sixth grade ELA and math. Prior to that, Ruggeri spent 16 years as a special education teacher for grades 9-12, and six years as a sixth grade special education teacher.
During her tenure at B-P, Ruggeri has served as a mentor for several teachers and has participated in extracurricular activities as a class advisor and as a member of the PBIS Committee. She obtained her administrative certificate in 2011 and completed her administrative internship at B-P.
Her nomination came from the parent of one of her students, who thanked her for being such a big part of her son’s success as a student this year. “She is kind and understanding of his shortcomings, but also has high expectations,” the parent wrote. “I am so very thankful to have had her guiding my son this year.”
Ruggeri said she was incredibly surprised at being named a Successory winner, saying it definitely put a huge smile on her face, and reading the parent’s kind words made her tear up.
“I honestly cannot do my job without creating and maintaining positive relationships with parents. Building trust and open communication with them is so important,” Ruggeri said.
“As hard as the end of last year was, and this year has been, I can say both years have been the most rewarding. That is because I have had the fortunate opportunity to work even closer with my students and parents in their homes,” she added.
Teaching Assistant, Junior High Life Skills
Cherise Bellandi has been a member of the Broadalbin-Perth team for just over a decade, having started at the former B-P Middle School in 2010. Today, she works as a teaching assistant in the junior high life skills classroom.
A colleague who works with Bellandi nominated her for a Successory award on behalf of her life skills students. The nomination read: “Cherise is always smiling and cheerful with the students that she works with every day. Cherise has a lot of patience and understanding with the students. Cherise is always positive and cheerful with staff and students.”
The nominator went on to describe a time when Bellandi went above and beyond to support her students: “At Christmas time, Cherise and another staff member delivered goodies and packages to every student in the life skills class on their own time and their own money.”
Bellandi said she is extremely excited and honored to be nominated for a Successory award.
“I absolutely love my job and the students I work with,” she said. “The students in this class are amazing, caring, and always eager to learn new things. Even If you are having a bad day, the students in this class can turn it around with their infectious smiles. It’s my absolute pleasure to work with them.”
Operations Assistant in the Transportation Office
Kameryn Curtis has worked for B-P since 2016, but her position as an operations assistant for the district transportation office is new as of this school year. She helps Director of Operations Michael Carney with whatever needs to get done throughout the campuses, which she says “may involve grounds and maintenance, custodial, or the big one — transportation.” Before taking the job, she jokes that she told Carney “plumbing and electrical were out of the question.”
“I feel like I have found where I’m happiest,” Curtis said.
Curtis is a lifelong member of the community and is a graduate of B-P High School. On her graduation cap, she wrote the words “get me out of here.” That cap is now proudly displayed in her office at B-P to remind herself that she’s right where she needs to be. Curtis is also an event coordinator and manager at the Saratoga Winery.
Curtis’ Successory nomination came from the parent of a B-P student who wanted to thank her for the help she has provided their family this year. “You are always kind, prompt and helpful anytime I have contacted you,” the parent wrote. “This has been an extremely trying year and knowing that Kameryn is willing to help at any given time is greatly appreciated!”
“Having this surprise appreciation is really a special feeling — it’s kind of indescribable,” Curtis said. “I feel thankful. This is absolutely something I’ll look back on when I’m having a not-so-great day to remind myself I’m working for the right community and for all the right reasons.”