By SHERIDAN CYR
Who’s your favorite teacher? Ask 100 students, and you’ll probably get 100 different answers, but when Southington school officials asked themselves the same question this year, one name rose to the top of the list: Kari Peschel-Luise.
“Mrs. Peschel-Luise is an amazing person and educator who gives her 110 percent at all times,” said Southington superintendent of schools Timothy Connellan. “She focuses on her students, and they truly respect and love her. I don’t know what the program would be without her.”
Each year, Southington teachers refer co-workers if they feel that they are deserving, dedicated teachers in the Southington school system. After compiling all the results, Peschel-Luise was named as the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year in the Southington public school system.
When asked what her reaction was to the announcement, Peschel-Luise said, “I was truly surprised.” But nobody else seemed surprised when Connellan, along with SHS principal Brian Stranieri, assistant superintendent Steven Madancy, human resource director Michelle Passamano and Depaolo vice principal Chris Palmieri dropped in on her Writing for Engineers and Scientists class with the news.
Her co-teacher in the class, Jennifer Jorgensen, was the one who nominated her for the award.
“I enjoy the inspiration of my colleagues, students and their parents,” said Peschel-Luise. “To be chosen to represent my colleagues, who love what they do with their students every day, I am exceedingly honored. For this one year, I hope to become a voice in an immense profession that unfolds with the journeys we have with our students. We share a tremendous collaboration that inevitably creates our students’ future.”
Peschel-Luise is an engineering, architecture and technology education teacher who has been teaching in Southington for the past five years. She began as a part-time paraeducator at Kennedy Middle School before accepting a full-time position in 2012. She was appointed to her current position in 2013.
Before any of that, she had an early career as an architect both in Canada and Germany prior to moving to the United States in 2008. Peschel-Luise earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1987 and her master’s degree in environmental design in architecture in 1993 from the University of Calgary in Canada. She earned her engineering degree in Berlin, Germany.
Peschel-Luise is part of the Project Lead the Way program, co-chair of the Technology Advisory Committee, mentor of Women in Science in Engineering and previously mentored the girls’ VEX team with the First Robotics Team 195. She will also co-chair the SHS accreditation committee.
Peschel-Luise will be recognized at the 2018-19 Staff Convocation in August and will be recognized at a reception prior to a Board of Education meeting in September.
Paraeducator of the Year
Teachers weren’t the only ones recognized by school officials. DePaolo Middle School teacher Anne Lippincott has been selected as the 2019 Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year.
“Ms. Lippincott is a wonderful and dedicated person,” said Connellan. “We presented the award to her in her classroom in front of her students, and it was truly a touching experience.”
Lippincott was hired in 2011 as a part-timer at DePaolo Middle School and was promoted to full-time in 2013. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Post University. Her colleagues describe her as an exceptional paraeducator who shows compassion, kindness and patience inside and outside the classroom.
“I was extremely surprised and humbled to receive this recognition. I work with so many amazing people who give whatever it takes to support our students and staff, and it makes me proud to be highlighted for my performance,” Lippincott said. “[Southington] is such a family-oriented town, and I love the fact that I get to support these families by working directly with their children during their sometimes challenging school days. I’m very lucky to say that I love my job.”
As Southington’s representative, Lippincott’s name has already been submitted to the Connecticut State Department of Education and the School Paraeducator Advisory Council as a nominee for the 2019 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.