Orleans/Niagara BOCES announces Employees of the Year

Provided photo: The honored employees at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES include top row, from left: Ann Logel, Janet Fitch, Stephanie Bevacqua and Colleen Bronschidle.  Bottom row: Dave Perry, Frank Riforgiato, Eric Farrell and Sharon Librera. 

Posted 11 September 2017 at 3:14 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

The school year at Orleans/Niagara BOCES started on a great note with the announcement of its 2016-2017 Employees of the Year. District Superintendent, Dr. Clark Godshall, played a movie at opening day where he surprised the winning employees in each category: administration, clerical, continuing education, custodian/maintenance, staff specialist, substitute, teacher and teacher aide to tell them that they had been chosen by their peers for the honor and awarded them a plaque.

• The Administrator of the Year was Ann Logel, the Coordinator at the North Tonawanda Learning Center. Ms. Logel started at Orleans/Niagara BOCES in 1996 as a Cosmetology teacher and has been a special education administrator since 2004.  “My favorite part of my job is watching staff work with students every day. I am very thankful I have a professional staff to work with and good relationships with our districts and parents. It makes for a great working environment.”

• The Clerical Person of the Year was Janet Fitch, who has been at BOCES for 35 years. She has worked at many different special education sites during her years at BOCES.  “I was at Project SASH for 25 years at Niagara East, Good Shepard, Meadow Elementary in North Tonawanda and the North Tonawanda Learning Center.  I currently work at the Newfane Learning Center and Orleans Learning Center.”  She says her favorite part of the job is seeing the kids every day and the variety of jobs that she does. “I’ve worked with amazing people throughout the years. Special education has a caring and compassionate staff.  I also enjoy the interaction with the other BOCES offices and the school districts. It is definitely an honor to receive this award and I’d like to thank those who nominated me. My sincere gratitude to all my coworkers, both past and present, for all that they have done and continue to do every day.”

Stephanie Bevacqua has been the named the Continuing Education Employee of the Year.  She has been a teacher since 2009.  “My favorite part of my job is getting former high school dropouts to recommit to their education.  It’s extremely rewarding to help a student transition from the label “dropout” to the label “graduate”.  My students often tell me that no one has ever believed in them before, no one “cared”.  Now that they know I care, they are inspired to move forward, be it on to college, or a training program or even a promotion at their jobs.”  She says she was shocked when she was named an employee of the year.  “Continuing education has never had an employee of the year before, so I was astonished when Dr. Godshall approached me over the summer to give me the award. I am truly humbled by this honor, but I have to stress that I am simply part of a great team. We all work hard to give second chances to students.”

Colleen Bronschidle was recognized as the Custodian/Maintenance Person of the Year. She has been working with BOCES for eight years. She started running the kitchen at the Niagara Academy for five years, worked as a teacher aide for 2 and a half years and also worked as a night cleaner for two hours every day. She eventually switched to a full time cleaner. She says the part she likes best about her job is the people at the Niagara Academy. “They have become like family and I enjoy every part of my day at work. I would not want to be working anywhere else. I have done my best as much as I could, I will try and learn as much as I can at the job. I am always at work and very rarely miss a day. I have overcome any challenges the job has offered me and succeed at the best of my abilities.” She says the award has been a great honor to her. “I have worked long and hard at this establishment and I appreciate being noticed and liked by my coworkers. I am blessed to have been able to show my abilities and work ethics. My parents did not believe in slackers, you have to work for you want. I would like to thank everyone at the BOCES and Niagara Academy sites for giving me the chance.”

• Staff Specialist of the Year is Dave Perry, a Computer Specialist in the Technology Department. He has been at BOCES for 16 years. “My favorite part of the job is my interaction in the classroom with staff and students and being able to travel to all the different sites to help resolve issues.” He says he really likes the people in his department and thinks they work well together as a team. “Receiving this is a real honor because you are nominated by your peers, and that someone took the time to write a letter on my behalf means a lot to me.”

• Substitute of the Year is Frank Riforgiato. He is a retired Blind and Partially Sighted teacher at BOCES and says he loves still being part of the organization. “I am very honored.  Working at BOCES were some of the best years of my life.”

• Teacher of the Year was Eric Farrell. Mr. Farrell teaches Welding at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. He has been at BOCES for 14 years. “I was very fortunate to start this job when I was 22 years old. I feel so very lucky that they took a chance on me as such as young guy. My favorite part of the job is when you see success. Not all of our successes come in the career area we teach, some of those successes can be as simple as getting a student to come to school more than they used to, dressing properly for the workplace, using proper language, etc. Another part of the job that I really enjoy is watching the students grow over the two years that we have had them. Some of the students come into the welding shop knowing little information and actually end up very successful in this career path later in life.” He says he is very honored to be named the Teacher of the Year. “I realize that this award is something that has to go to one individual, but I really feel as though this is something we earned as a building. I would not be the teacher I am today without the amazing teachers and staff that I work next to daily.”

• Sharon Librera was named the Teacher Aide of the Year. Sharon works at Orleans Learning Center that houses special education classes. She has worked for BOCES since 2004. “My favorite part of this job is being with the kids!  They can be tough at times, but hilarious other times. I really care about them. I was very shocked, happy and grateful for winning this award.”

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