August 12, 2022

East Providence School Department – Teachers of the Year 2022

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The East Providence School Department has selected the 2022 Teachers of the Year for each school, including the District Wide recipient.  Here is a school by school breakdown of all nominees:

Districtwide Teacher of the Year - Aimee Couto Whiteknact Elementary
Mrs. Aimee Couto is best described as a knowledgeable, passionate and a resourceful leader among all teachers. She delivers instruction with elegance and command. Mrs. Couto is one of the most confident and dedicated first grade teachers that Whiteknact has been fortunate to have as a role model for all members of our school community.

Mrs. Couto is more than a top-notch educator. For 23 years, Mrs. Couto continues to be a devoted and loving wife to Adam. Mrs. Couto is a proud, nurturing, and supportive mother to her three children, Madison, Jacob and Dylan. She often travels the states supporting her children as they follow their passions using the wings Mrs. Couto has provided through never-ending commitment and love!  Mrs. Couto spends endless hours celebrating special moments with family and friends at various venues such as dinners, soccer fields, basketball games, and ballet recitals. She can be found relaxing with coffee from Starbucks and planning her next run.

Alongside her teaching partner, Mrs. Couto has created an inspiring learning environment where every student thrives. Aimee designs her classroom to create a highly effective atmosphere for student learning and achievement. Students and visiting educators alike, love all the routines and the engaging atmosphere, whether it be direct teaching, Lively Letters, Heggerty phonemic awareness drills, SEL lessons, brain breaks, working in small groups or individually on specific skills. Mrs. Couto focuses each day on embedding best practices in ELA and Math, while continually maintaining and studying data information, and securing the needed resources for students to succeed at all levels.

As noted from the many nominations:

"Her kindness and care towards her students is one of the most admirable things about her. Aimee takes the time to get to know each student on a deep level to ensure they feel safe and loved in her classroom."

“Aimee Couto is a natural leader. She is a fierce advocate for students and their overall success. I couldn't be prouder to introduce the Whiteknact Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Aimee Couto,” writes Principal Laurie Marchand.

East Providence High School - Eve Nicole Cleary
Her students describe her as outgoing, enthusiastic, passionate, kind, welcoming, motivating, fun, intelligent, charismatic, and dedicated. Her students call her their favorite teacher.  Her colleagues describe her as humorous, wonderful, devoted, helpful and an integral part of the Social Studies Department and School.

Cleary started her career in Providence, before coming to East Providence, where she served as a Special Education teacher at Riverside Middle School. She is currently a Social Studies teacher at East Providence High School.  “Ms. Cleary is a phenomenal teacher, school leader and a strong supporter of students.  Ms. Cleary always greets her students and colleagues with positivity and helpfulness.  Whether it is a financial literacy class or a WIN Block activity, her students are happy, engaged and feel empowered to contribute,” writes the nominators.

As the Social Studies Department's primary financial literacy teacher, she has worked to refine the curriculum and has created student-centered lessons that prepare students for college and life in the real world. She has provided valuable input in the creation of the new School Bank/School Store Class.

Outside of the classroom, Ms. Cleary continues to support her students. She routinely attends student sporting events, band and chorus concerts and musicals. Eve and her family can be seen cheering on her students. She volunteers for dances, graduations, and other events that students attend. Students flock to the clubs that she oversees, such as the Class Committee and DECA.

Eve is a leader, demonstrated by her work on many committees. Ms. Cleary is a member of the School Improvement Team, NEASC committee and the co-chair of the school's data committee. She is committed to working with her colleagues with the goal of improving the educational outcomes for our students.

Riverside Middle School – Kaitlyn Baccari
Kaitlyn Baccari is the Teacher of the Year for Riverside Middle School. “Kaitlyn was nominated overwhelmingly by her students.  It is for this reason that she was selected out of several esteemed members of the RMS faculty. It is why Katleyn stands out so much among her peers,” stated Principal Robert Perry. 

Baccari came to RMS four years ago, having spent time as an elementary school teacher. Quickly, she became friends with her colleagues at RMS because of her kind and pleasant demeanor, and her warm personality. In the classroom, however, was where she really started to make a difference. It was evident that Kaitlyn was providing the perfect amount of structure for her 6th graders, fresh from elementary school. She allowed them to spread their wings as middle schoolers while keeping high expectations. It was also around this time that parents began to express how much their kids enjoyed Mrs. Baccari's class. 

Over the past few years, Kaitlyn has become a 'fan favorite' among the students at RMS. The words of the parents, teachers and students who nominated her really tell the story. Here are a few gems.

"I think she is the Teacher of the Year because she works well with her students, she makes work fun, she is funny and doesn't make class boring, and she takes the time to listen to what you say and your questions." Sophia - Grade 6.

"I am so impressed at the creativity she shows in delivering Science content. She uses technology and makes her presentations engaging for all her students. She truly cares about her students and has gone out of her way to be supportive of them during this pandemic. As a parent, I have been so impressed at the compassion that she has shown to my own children. She has been understanding as my daughter has really struggled with adjusting to a new school and schedule this year." - Kim - RMS Parent.

"Throughout the year, Kaitlyn has devoted time in and out of school to create meaningful lessons for her students. Her rigorous expectations are attainable thanks to her thorough explanations and modeling. When I see students, they rave about what they are learning in science and have fun anecdotes to share about their experiences in class. Kaitlyn makes students feel safe and loved, which is important this year in particular." Kelley – Teacher.

"Mrs. Baccari always gives respect to everyone." Jacob - Grade 6

“Baccari is a teacher our kids will always remember. She has high standards for achievement and behavior, and she holds her students to those expectations. She is able to do so because she really cares about her students and they know it. She has the perfect teaching recipe and she uses it every day. We are so very pleased to have Kaitlyn represent us as our Teacher of the Year,” said Principal Perry.

Martin Middle School - Amy Moran
Moran has been teaching in East Providence for 23 years. She has been a member of the Martin family for the past 18 years. During her time at Martin, Moran has had the opportunity to teach social studies in 6th, 7th and 8th grade making her a well-rounded middle school educator. She is currently teaching 7th grade.

“Amy Moran is a teacher that understands that being a teacher is much more than what goes on in the classroom. This year a group of students wanted to create a club called the Green Team that would focus on how Martin could be more eco-friendly. Mrs. Moran stepped up to lead this club. Mrs Moran is also a leader of our National Junior Honor Society and a coach of Martin's Unified Basketball team. Mrs Moran was also a vital part of our yearly 8th grade field trip to Philadelphia which reinforced the curriculum that the students have learned over their 3 years at Martin,” writes Principal Sean Messier. 

When asked what was important to her when it comes to our students, Moran responded that she tries to make learning fun by coming up with different activities to reach all of her students with different learning styles. She challenges students to question history and not just reiterate the facts. She brings a TON of enthusiasm every day and says she is "truly blessed and loves her job, coworkers and her students."

Some teacher and student comments:

“Eve1y day, Mrs. Moran has a positive attitude, and does what she can to make students feel comfortable. She is very real with her students and shows true wildcat pride.”

“She always makes her class fun and she always cares about all her students' feelings.”

“Mrs. Moran makes her content fun to learn and she understands when a student is going through something difficult and cares for them.”

“She makes Me want to learn.  She always cares no matter what she does. Mrs. Moran constantly checks up on you when seeing you are down.  She makes learning entertaining and is very joyful and loving.”

“Mrs Moran is a role model for her students. She might be silly and funny at times but she really pushes me to be the best I can be.  She makes eve1yone feel like school is our home and our safe place.”

“She is willing to show up for her students. This job is hard, yet somehow she is always smiling and bringing positivity. She organizes fun events and is such a cheerleader!”

“Mrs. Moran is a wonderful example of a teacher who constantly goes above and beyond for her students and her colleagues. She is always ready to try new things. She forms close bonds with her students, is understanding, and kind to them all. She really exemplifies what it means to be a wildcat and to have wildcat pride!”

“She truly inspires me to be the best I can be for this school day in and day out. Her kindness is contagious. Her leadership is vital. I am very lucky to call her my co-worker and friend.”

These are just some of the things said about this amazing teacher. Amy's involvement in so many activities and clubs as well as volunteering to help whenever someone is in need is unlike anyone I have ever worked with. Mrs. Moran makes every student and faculty member feel important and they know that she is there for them, sometimes literally cheering them on. It could be honking in the parking lot when she comes into school in the morning or pumping her arms walking down the halls,” said Principal Shane Messier.

Myron J. Francis - Michele Silveira
Ms. Silveira has spent the last 32 years teaching elementary students in East Providence.  Ms. Silveira is a positive ray of sunshine in our school. She comes in each day with a smile, ready to start her day. Throughout the day her smile shines brightly, while working with her students. And, as the day ends, her smile is still there while collaborating with colleagues or attending meetings. 

She has been described by her colleagues and families she's worked with as: passionate, dedicated, inspiring, kind, compassionate, caring, committed, and patient.

If you stop into her classroom you will witness a busy place with every student actively engaged. Whether in small groups working around the room, at the teacher table with Ms. Silveira, or on the rug as a whole class, it is evident that the students take pride in their work and know the importance of learning,” writes Principal

Here are some of the many kind words written about Ms. Silveira:

"Ms Silveira always goes above and beyond. Even though my daughter is now in 5th grade, every time we see her outside of the school building, Ms Silveira makes a point to say hello to not only myself or the family, but to my daughter as well. She has never lost that connection with my child and for that I am grateful."

"She teaches to each and every child in the classroom. She brings a perfect blend of kindness as well as extremely high expectations. She inspires my child to work hard and be her best every single day. She truly is an extraordinary educator."

"She has proven time and time again what a devoted, hard-working, compassionate teacher she is. One could ask any of her former students, and they would agree that any time in the classroom of Mrs. Silveira is always memorable. Michele is kind, encouraging, smart and engaging. Her students know that when they are in her class, they are then and always one of "Mrs. Silveira's Kids". Not only do I get to see Michele in action each and every day as her teammate, but I also got to experience her through my two boys who were fortunate enough be in her class. She is to this very day their favorite teacher, hands down."

"Ms Silveira is one of the sweetest people I've met. She genuinely cares for the students and goes above and beyond to make sure they are happy everyday in class and if they have any issues she makes sure they're understanding any new material."

"Mrs. Silveira has been the 2nd grade teacher for both of our boys. She is always positive and encouraging. Both boys earned a great love of reading in her classroom. They grew to love  

reading and writing. She has a great balance of supporting them from a social emotional standpoint as well as helping them grow academically. As we transitioned into distance learning, she embraced this challenge like a pro. Her classroom was organized, and she communicated with us often regarding her assignments. She met with the students often and it was so clear how happy she was to "see" them. We were lucky enough to overhear lessons and lunch bunches at our kitchen table. She always managed the students in a positive and supportive way. Mrs. Silveira has had a great impact on our family and we highly recommend her for teacher of the year."

Agnes B. Hennessey School - Emily Rendine
Emily Rendine is described by colleagues as dedicated, enthusiastic, engaging, collaborative, and knowledgeable. As a colleague Emily is so easy to work with and always has something positive to contribute! When you walk into her classroom it is easy to see why all of the students love Miss Rendine. Emily has an enthusiastic attitude and encouraging ways that engage her students in their learning. She makes learning fun!

Emily is described by families as committed, caring, and engaging. One family noted, "Ms. Rendine is the image of a Hennessey HERO! She makes sure all the students feel safe, not only physically but mentally, they can express themselves, she is extremely respectful with the kids and this makes the kids respect her as well. She engages with the kids in a way to understand their individual needs and help them thrive. She is an amazing teacher."

Miss Rendine communicates regularly with families and shares weekly "Ask Me About" updates (through text and pictures) so parents and guardians can have meaningful conversations at home about what their children are learning in school.

Emily assumes positions of leadership within the school to support the overall school community. Emily has been a key member of our PBIS Team, leading school-wide climate and culture efforts, our newly formed Equity Team and the writing subcommittee of our School Improvement Team. This spring she will chair our second annual school-wide STEAM event for students and families. Through Spark grants and most recently a grant through the Health Equity Zone, Emily has initiated community gardening at our school.

Beyond the school day. Emily plays a lead role in the Hennessey Boys & Girls Club Extended Day and Summer Program’s under our 21st Century Grant, through academic tutoring and enrichment projects. Throughout the pandemic, Ms. Rendine created virtual field trip videos for students to access and enjoy as she narrated her visits to local establishments. This year she is leading an after-school dance program, Fancy Feet and directed our first ever performance of the Nutcracker!

“Miss Rendine is committed to her own academic growth and professional learning. She recently obtained her Masters in Reading and a certificate in Dyslexia Knowledge and Practice to better serve her students and inform school level decision making.  Emily Rendine truly exemplifies what it means to be a Hennessey Hero,” writes Principal Lindsey Reilly.

Kent Heights School – Laurie Read
Laurie Reid has been selected by the Kent Heights School Community, to include colleagues and families, our Teacher of the Year 2022.  Laurie Read began her teaching career in East Providence as a general education teacher in the intermediate elementary grades. Next, Laurie transitioned to the position of Elementary Guidance Counselor, serving all elementary schools in the district. Laurie's current and final position is at Kent Heights School, second grade, general education. Laurie Reid will conclude her teaching career in June 2022, as she is retiring.

Colleague nominations included the following descriptors: enthusiastic, encouraging, kind, loving, caring, inspirational, nurturing and innovative.

Family nominations centered around the theme of a "Loving Teacher".  Families stated that the children love her      and look forward to going to school. Ms. Reid has a passion for teaching and love for her students that shines through every day. A student was quoted as saying he felt, "loved, safe, and she makes him laugh."

Each year Ms. Reid creates a classroom theme; this year the theme is "The Friend Ship".  Ms. Reid is the captain of The Friend Ship and her little crew and their families love their captain.

“Wishing Ms. Reid Congratulations on behalf of the entire Kent Heights Community and all the best in her upcoming retirement,” writes Principal Lloydanne Leddy.

Orlo Avenue School - Laura Marshall
Orio is pleased to honor Mrs. Laura Marshall as this year's Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Marshall's classroom is characterized as warm, calm and kind. She is respected by colleagues, students and parents alike. Parents have described Mrs. Marshall as "welcoming" and "caring". She creates a classroom environment for her kindergarten students that feels like home. The classroom home includes curtains, a cardboard fireplace (that is often decorated), table coverings, and a cozy book nook. She conducts her classroom with love and respect, a core value at Orio Avenue School.

Students describe Mrs. Marshall using words such as "fun" and "kind". She instills a love for learning in her students. Students express that they enjoy math, writing, and especially centers. Mrs. Marshall does not forget her students once they have moved on from Kindergarten. She can be found offering a helping hand, a friendly hello, or a quick visit with a previous student.

“There really are not words that truly capture the way in which Mrs. Marshall interacts with her students. Mrs. Marshall's expectations for kindergarten students are very high and are addressed in a calm, subtle way. She approaches every situation, no matter how difficult, with the same calm, even demeanor. Students respond almost instantly to something as simple as a hand signal, the playing of a song, or a quiet whisper. Students are taught a level of independence the moment they enter her classroom. She allows students to learn and shine. Her commitment to student learning, growth and success is admirable. She has a masterful way of infusing her fun, warm, caring way into academics, core values, and independence. She has created a place where every kindergartener can grow and thrive,” writes Principal Pita.

Silver Spring School – Elizabeth Dubois
Elizabeth Dubois has worked at Silver Spring Elementary School for the past five years, as the Therapeutic Program's Coordinator.  In this role, she works with students, staff, families, and administrators. She has been instrumental in developing protocols and procedures in collaboration with the Therapeutic Program team based on the needs of the students. Beth also has experience working with special education students in Pawtucket, as well as other districts and outside providers. Beth has voluntarily taught in Tanzania and studied the educational systems in China and Brazil. These experiences have been instrumental in her ability to support stakeholders at every level.

For instance, Beth works closely with students providing support and guidance in an effort to help students who have social emotional challenges. Beth also supports staff through collaboration, providing resources, and professional development.

In the words of individuals who nominated Beth for Silver Spring Elementary School's 2022 Teacher of the Year, "she is the best candidate to represent Silver Spring Elementary School as Teacher of the year because" she "is passionate about her job and she shows that in the way she treats and works with teachers and staff," students and families. "This makes students learn better and feel safe and cared for, which makes coming to school every day one of the pleasures in coming to work!"

"Beth actively supports teachers and students with the most intensive programming in the school. She readily supports all students and staff in the building and shares her expertise freely. She consults with many staff members to help support all students and staff in the school. She regularly provides professional development for paraprofessionals throughout the school. Beth is endlessly patient and optimistic and provides her best every day, even in the most difficult of circumstances

Beth has earned the respect of her peers, staff, students, families, and administrators, as she is continuously and tirelessly supportive, collaborative, articulate, and resourceful. Whenever a stakeholder is in need of support, guidance, information, data, or assistance, Beth is quick to provide it in a respectful, kind and effective manner. Beth advocates for our students, families, and staff because she believes that our students deserve every opportunity to succeed in and out of the classroom. There isn't a challenge or obstacle that Beth cannot handle. She either has the background knowledge and expertise needed to address the challenge, or she seeks guidance to ensure that the challenge is addressed quickly and appropriately.

“Beth's attention to detail, positivity, 'can do' attitude, and commitment to our school community's success is to be applauded and recognized, which is why it is my pleasure to present Silver Spring Elementary School's 2022 Teacher of the Year,” writes Principal Fatima Avila.

Alice Waddington School – Nicholas Karalekas
“Socrates said “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel". According to the responses for this year's Teacher of the Year nominations, our candidate has sparked many flames in his brief tenure and is well on his way to igniting countless more!" With overwhelming enthusiasm and without reservations, parents and colleagues have chosen Nicholas Karalekas as this year's Teacher of the Year for Waddington Elementary School,” writes Principal Karen Moore.

According to his legion of supporters, Mr. K is seen as a "great person", genuine, and a terrific teacher. Based on the feedback, he has created an environment where students feel connected, valued, respected, supported, inspired and safe to take chances in their academic journey. In this optimal atmosphere, fourth graders are challenged and feel overwhelmingly motivated to learn and some even come to love ELA. Mr. Karalekas is forever putting himself in the place of his students as he brainstorms new and innovative ways to reach all of them. As is the case with many dedicated teachers, the physical boundaries of his classroom and his class roster do not dictate his interest in students. Mr. K can be found at recess playing basketball with kids or taking time during other parts of the day to check in with a student in need of guidance.

Mr. Karalekas's nomination as teacher of the year, possesses a certain level of wizard pride for our school. He first entered the halls as a Kindergarten student in Mrs. Narrachi's class. He later returned to student teach in Mrs. Kaiser's first grade classroom. Mr. K's path once again returned to Legion Way last year as he took on a position as a fifth grade ELA teacher during an unprecedented year. During a year that can described as "unsettled" in which every day seemed to bring a new challenge or a different obstacle, Mr. K settled into his classroom with a calm demeanor that served as a constant and steady point of focus for his fifth-grade students. While it is unlikely any student will ever forget what learning was like last year, thanks to Mr. Karalekas, his students will recall their fifth-grade year for reasons aside from masks and quarantines.

“Mr. Karalekas, on behalf of A.M Waddington Elementary School, we are honored to name you our Teacher of the Year. Congratulations and thank you for all you do!” – Principal Moore.

Pre-K School – Laura Elson
“On behalf of the PreK staff and school community, it is my pleasure to nominate Mrs. Laura Elson for the 2022 Teacher of the Year,” writes Principal Karen Rebello.  Mrs. Elson has been teaching in the East Providence School District for the past 5 years. Currently, she is a teacher in the State PreK Program at Martin Middle School. She began her career in East Providence as a Kindergarten teacher at Oldham and Waddington Elementary before moving to her dream job in PreK.  PreK being her passion.  During her four-year tenure in the district she has been a leader in all sites and a valuable part of every team. She currently provides regular support to her colleagues in many areas because of the extensive and educational background she possesses.

According to her PreK colleagues she is "the truest version of a team player who is willing to help anyone with anything. She has worked tirelessly to learn the many components of the PreK program. She loves her students and it shows in everything she does." She works hard inside and outside of her classroom to enhance student learning. She always makes time to meet with her families and it shows through the amazing relationships she has with them. Mrs. Elson is always ready to collaborate and work with colleagues, private sector professionals or administration for the betterment of the program. She values all opinions and ideas and is diligent in ensuring all voices are heard and represented.

Parents speak highly of Mrs. Elson . One mom stated, Mrs. Elson is always kind and nice with children, her many years of experience is an asset. She communicates very well with parents Another said, I am nominating Mrs. Laura Elson for Martins Pre-K teacher of the year.. Mrs.

Elsonis always so caring and kind. She knows how to communicate with children and is always on their level. Mrs. Elson is consistently compassionate and patient. She went above and beyond to support my children who cried for at least the first few months of the school year.

She worked with them every day and built a trusting relationship with them. I appreciated her compassion more than you'll ever know.  Another parent wrote, “my child learned so much while in her classroom. He would wake up and be so excited to go to school. Mrs. Elson helped build the academic foundation for my child and I will be forever grateful.”  She made school fun for them and set the bar high for their future teachers! Thank you for everything you do and continue to do for all our children. Mrs. Elson truly makes a difference in children's lives; I was fortunate enough to witness this firsthand.

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