Three Minisink Valley staff members have been named recipients of the Mid-Hudson School Study Council’s 2023 Awards for Excellence.
Each year, the Newburgh-based organization honors those in the education field who display excellence in their work. Awards were presented to them and other honorees at a Nov. 1 gathering at The Barn at Villa Venezia in Middletown.
Assistant Superintendent Michael Giardina was named a recipient of the Council’s Award for Excellence in Administration.
“There’s a line of thinking that says the student gateway to any school starts when he or she climbs on to the school bus,” wrote Superintendent Brian Monahan in his nomination letter. “I think that’s true. I also believe that the staff gateway to any school job – no matter what that job is — starts when a prospective employee walks into Mr. Giardina’s Human Resources office. He is the front line in representing and expressing the professional and ethical values and principles that are important to this district.”
He added: “Overseeing the human resources function is a huge responsibility, requiring important skills to support district leadership in managing the complexities that arise daily when dealing with the positive and negative components of staff resource management, recruitment and retention. Mr. Giardina does this with professionalism, decorum, grace and a good-naturedness that’s an example for all of us to follow. He is extremely supportive of our staff, but has high expectations for their performance, achievements and, most importantly, their commitment to student success and achievement. We rely on him daily for his human resource advice and counsel and the talents he brings in his role as a member of my Cabinet.”
Otisville School Psychologist Heather Dubrovsky was named a recipient of the Council’s Award of Excellence in Pupil Personnel Services.
“She is, first and foremost, a friendly and familiar face to all of the students in the building,” wrote Director of Pupil Personnel Services Jeffrey Finton in his nomination letter. “She is also a leader for the Pupil Personnel Department in the building and a leader of psychologists throughout the district. She strives to connect with as many families as possible. Her caring nature and thoughtful approach gives families an additional person to assist when they need assistance.”
Supervisor of Special Education Dr. Heather Wynne further noted in her recommendation letter: “Mrs. Dubrovsky is seen as an anchor and resource across the district. Teachers, administrators, staff and families seek her out for guidance and support. She is kind, compassionate and driven to improving the processes and procedures of the PPS Department in order to better serve our kids and families.”
High School Teacher’s Aide Jodi VanDervoort was named a recipient of Council’s Award for Excellence for Support Staff.
“Ms. VanDervoort has been a district employee since 2012 when she joined us at the high school as a teacher’s aide,” wrote Principal Kenneth Hauck in his nomination letter. “She is known for two things: A willingness to do anything and her fantastic attitude. Her personality is second to none and we can always count on her to get everyone laughing. Minisink Valley is a great place because of people like Ms. VanDervoort. She is a wonderful example of what we want all our support staff to do: Serve our students with pride and enthusiasm.”
He also added: “Ms. VanDervoort consistently contributes to the school climate by being involved in a variety of activities that support our students. For the last two years, Ms. VanDervoort has been a Senior Class co-advisor, where she has organized fundraisers, coordinated senior class picnics and trips and played a major role in planning and executing the graduation ceremony. And she remains in charge of the In-School Suspension room and has done a great job keeping our students focused on their school work and controlling their behavior during their time with her.”