By SHERIDAN CYR
The Board of Education held their first meeting since the official start of the school year on Sept. 13, but had a special celebration planned before getting down to business. The board kicked off their meeting by recognizing and honoring the 2018-19 teacher of the year, Keri Peschel-Luise.
BOE chair Brian Goralski presented a plaque to the Southington High School engineering, architecture and technology education teacher.
“This is in recognition to your years of service to Southington Public Schools, for setting the example you gave to all of us,” said Goralski.
Peschel-Luise has been teaching in Southington for five years, and had an early career as an architect both in Canada and Germany prior to moving to the United States in 2008. She was originally hired by SPS in Oct. 2011 as a part-time para-educator, and became a full-time para-educator in 2012. She accepted her current role in 2013.
“I have to say, I am totally humbled,” said Peschel-Luise, who was celebrated in front of all SPS staff and administration at the annual convocation. “What makes me the happiest and the most comfortable is seeing the students being celebrated, because it’s fascinating to see how they can excel and how they can succeed on a daily basis.”
She thanked the members of the BOE for allowing her to be a part of SPS.
Not only did the board recognize the Teacher of the Year, but they also introduced this year’s student representatives, who are selected to attend the board’s bi-weekly meetings and provide an inside look at a student’s point of view.
Bianca Spataro, SHS senior, returned for her second year as a student representative. Trevor Messina, a junior, and Nicholas Mangene, a senior, joined as new members.
“I feel really good about this school year,” said Messina. “I’m very excited to have been selected to be a student representative and I hope to be a part of the conversation and voice some opinions.”
Mangene agreed, looking forward to his senior year. “I have some ideas to hopefully bring to the board.”
Spataro, the veteran representative, commented that the school year is off to a strong start, and she looks forward to her second year on the board.
“I really appreciate the effort by the BOE and Southington Police to increase security in our schools,” said Spataro, “and I think the board is working hard to figure out how to provide the right budget.”
Goralski said the student representatives’ job is an important one and encouraged them to join in on conversations.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@Southing-tonObserver.com.