Milford schools honor educators and parent of the year

MILFORD — The Milford schools have honored a middle school guidance counselor, a high school biscuit baker and a PTA parent as teacher, para-educator and parent of the year for 2021-21.

“This year, more than any other, we are so grateful for the selfless and enthusiastic work of all our winners,” said Superintendent of Schools Anna Cutaia. “The past year presented us with many unexpected challenges, and our teachers, paras and parents really stepped up to the plate to make sure everyone’s needs were being met all the while with a friendly and enthusiastic spirit. It was truly amazing to watch.”

Jill McCormack, who works at West Shore Middle School, was named Teacher of the Year. The schools cited her as a “dedicated and enthusiastic practitioner, skillfully using her collaborative problem-solving skills to find solutions.”

McCormack has founded various special programs, such as the school-wide peer support group, an anti-bullying campaign, the annual high school fair, sixth-grade orientation, spirit weeks, the Law Rocks eighth-grade promotion and a variety of fundraisers designed to benefit the community at large.

Kacey Golebiewsdki, who works primarily with students who have special needs at Jonathan Law High School, was named Para-educator of the Year for her work strengthening the practical skills of the students she works with.

Golebiewski developed the Bobo’s Biscuits Program during the pandemic, a business that her students could operate, and she matched the roles within the business to each student’s strengths. Roles included making the biscuits, marketing, accounting, packaging and distribution. The program was successful, and students sold biscuits at the school and through the Parsons Perks coffee carts at the district central offices.

Christina Marini, whose children attend Pumpkin Delight Elementary School, is the 2020-21 Parent of the Year.

School officials described Marini as a strong supporter of the home-school connection and a long-standing member of the Pumpkin Delight PTA. Officials said during the pandemic, parents needed to become inventive when planning family programming and student-friendly events.

Even with COVID forcing the schools to revise their programs, Marini ensured the school plant sales, yearbooks, student science fairs, field days, STEM-based after-school activities and the Read Across America celebration all happened this year.