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Back to Communications Home

Great employees celebrated

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 7, 2018) -- With music and fanfare, the City School District of Albany on Friday evening literally rolled out the red carpet to honor employees of excellence and staff members who have reached significant anniversary milestones in their district careers.


The ceremony -- the Employee Recognition Celebration -- was the first of its kind hosted by the school district. It was held at the majestic Palace Theatre.


Top employees for 2018 were recognized with a series of “apple” awards: Golden Apples for teachers and other professional staff, Ruby Apples for support staff and Emerald Apples for administrators. A single Crystal Award recipient was selected from each of those groups. In addition to the apple awards, district employees who reached anniversary milestones of 25 years or more were recognized.


Mistress of ceremony for the evening was Spectrum News journalist Tamani Wooley. Albany High School sophomore Keyorrie Wilson and junior Lee Reh each wowed the audience with individual performances, while Sheridan Preparatory Academy first-grader Brenda Alston Vails led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance (with some moral support from principal Zuleika Sanches-Gayle).


Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams thanked the honorees for their dedication, and noted that employees in every role in the school district play a vital part in educating students.


"Together, we are all in for Albany!," she said.


Read on to learn the people recognized Friday. You can also view photos from the event here and here.


Golden Apple winners

  • Arbor Hill Elementary School – Erin Heid, third-grade teacher

  • Albany High School – Kimberly Baker, school counselor

  • Albany International Center – Stephanie Garcia Galagarza, English as a new language teacher

  • Albany School of Humanities (ASH) – Geraldine Pressley, fourth-grade teacher

  • Delaware Community School – Ana Banda-Wemple, prekindergarten teacher

  • Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence – Alyssa Zito, remedial reading teacher

  • Eagle Point Elementary School – Karyn Barry, first-grade teacher

  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School – Shannon Smith, third-grade teacher

  • Montessori Magnet School – Norma Seward, special education teacher

  • North Albany Academy – Elizabeth Keller, fourth-grade teacher

  • New Scotland Elementary – Kourtney Abbruzzese, fourth-grade teacher

  • Philip Schuyler Elementary School – Erin Andrews, teacher

  • Pine Hills Elementary School – Michelle Chiappone, third-grade teacher

  • Sheridan Preparatory Academy – Regina McCormack, kindergarten teacher (now at ASH)

  • Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School – Gary Nowik, science teacher

  • Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) – Betsy Tanenhaus, third-grade teacher

  • Tony Clement Center for Education – Rachel Yusko, high-school social studies teacher

  • William S. Hackett Middle School – Ruth Nova de los Santos, advanced Spanish teacher


Ruby Apple winners

  • Arbor Hill Elementary School – Monique Lanciault, teaching assistant

  • Albany High School – Mark Pryor, senior hall monitor

  • Albany International Center – Lily Htoo, home school coordinator

  • Albany School of Humanities (ASH) – Vincent DeMarco, teaching assistant

  • Delaware Community School – Joy Howard, teaching assistant

  • Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence – Lionel Harris, home school coordinator

  • Eagle Point Elementary School – Prince Allah, custodian

  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School – Walter Huntley, hall monitor

  • Montessori Magnet School – Helen Mary DeSimone, teacher aide

  • North Albany Academy – Meredith Lounsbury, teaching assistant

  • New Scotland Elementary – Maureen Jeffers, teacher aide

  • Philip Schuyler Elementary School – Kevin Griffen, hall monitor

  • Pine Hills Elementary School – Janet Llanos, teaching assistant

  • Sheridan Preparatory Academy – Matthew Taylor, teaching assistant

  • Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School – Georgette Johnson, hall monitor

  • Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) – Sharena Cain, hall monitor

  • Tony Clement Center for Education – Michaela Cargill, hall monitor

  • William S. Hackett Middle School – Lawrence Salazar Sr., hall monitor


Emerald Apple winners

  • Arbor Hill Elementary School – Rosalind Gaines-Harrell, principal

  • Delaware Community School – Kenneth Lein, Ed.D., principal

  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School – Jasmine Brown, principal

  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School – Jason Rogers, assistant principal

  • Office of Curriculum and Instruction – Jennifer Houlihan, secondary humanities instructional supervisor

  • Office of English as a New Language and Refugee Services – Thomas Giglio, director


Crystal Apple winners

  • Golden Apple Kimberly Baker

  • Ruby Apple Mark Pryor

  • Emerald Apple Jennifer Houlihan


Milestone recognitions

The following people will celebrate their 25th year in the district in 2018-19:

Duncan Bailey

Carole Battistello

Todd Benton

Margaret Burns

Elisa Byrnes

Mafalda Fazio

Jeffrey Ikler

Amy Kaiser

Susan Lofrumento

Sara McGraw

Elizabeth Nigro-Despart

Margaret Niro

Diana Ortiz

Maria Sokaris

Gina Szesnat

Jean Ward


The following people will celebrate their 30th year in the district in 2018-19:

Mary Bouchard

Matthew Grant

Kimberly Gregory

Christina Hettie

Michael Justice

Diane Lemieur

Gina M. Nichols

Kimberly Reilly

John Sawyer

Deborah Sharpe


The following people have been a part of the district for more than 30 years, and will celebrate the following milestones in 2018-19:

Stephanie Primero (31)

Maureen Tricozzi (31)

Barbara Warford (31)

David Amodeo (32)

Vincent Amodeo (32)

Henry Czerwinski (32)

Karen Hauth (32)

Julie Jackson (32)

Marianne Leung (32)

Dana Mackey (32)

Anna Rita Mele (32)

Kimberly Penman (32)

Kathleen Schnurr (32)

Donald Smith (32)

Geraldine Pressley (33)

Janie Stanford (33)

Jo-Anne Dillenbeck (34)

Josephine Amore (36)

Sharon Stott (39)

David Garrison (40)

Frazell Cunningham (52)


Sponsors of the event were district community partners SEFCU, the Palace Theatre and First New York Federal Credit Union. Also contributing to the event were Albany Clothing and Promotions and the Waldorf Tuxedo Company.


Congratulations to the amazing and hard-working City School District of Albany people recognized on Friday!


The mission of the City School District of Albany is to work in partnership with our diverse community to engage every learner in a robust educational program designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for success. The district serves about 9,500 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

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