Four teachers and a counselor have won Excellence in Teaching Awards from the Marian Greenblatt Education Fund, which recognizes teachers for excellence in motivating and educating students. This is the 15th year the awards have been given in honor of the late Marian Greenblatt, a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education from 1976-84.
Three veteran teachers received awards: Elizabeth Giannone, a third grade teacher at DuFief Elementary School; Penny Keune, a psychology teacher at Quince Orchard High School; and Meredith Milk, a teacher of students with multiple and severe disabilities at Luxmanor Elementary School. Joseph Monte, a veteran resource counselor at Albert Einstein High School, also received an award.
The rookie teacher award went to Rebecca Boyle, a first year social studies and science teacher at William H. Farquhar Middle School.
Elizabeth Giannone: The list of third grade DuFief Elementary School teacher Elizabeth Giannone's extra school projects is impressive. She is a new teacher mentor, a benchmark teacher, a school leadership team member and third grade team leader. She also works as coordinator of the Poet-in-Residence program, the high school intern program and the environmental club. In addition, Giannone is considered the "go to" person in the school, whether it is for planning large events or mainstreaming learning disabled children into her classroom.
Penny Keune: Quince Orchard High School psychology teacher Penny Keune is known at her school as an "impact" teacher. When the school opened in 1988, she began the Student Government Association. Her expertise as a psychology teacher has led to more than 85 percent of her students earning college credit on the Advanced Placement test. Her efforts to combine school and community are exemplified in the club she started, "Students Helping Other People" (SHOP). This group emphasizes the benefits of a drug- and alcohol-free existence and sponsors projects involving homeless shelters and hospitals, as well as fun student activities.
Meredith Milk: Meredith Milk is described as a very special teacher to very special children. As a primary school community-based teacher, she teaches fundamental life skills to children with severe and multiple disabilities. Milk is constantly working to include her students in Luxmanor's daily life. She established and runs "Service Corps Buddies," which matches mainstreamed students with her special-needs children. This effort has opened up a new world not only for her students but for the Luxmanor community as a whole. Parents of Milk's students are thrilled that she looks at each child as an individual and is dedicated to making each child's life the best it can be.
Joseph Monte: Joseph Monte has taught at Albert Einstein High School since it opened in 1964. As a resource counselor, he is well known for going the extra mile for his students. The Career Center, which he established, guides students during the college application process. The impact he has had on his students in their pursuit of higher education is enormous. He can often be found well after school has ended for the day, counseling students and parents and assisting them with financial aid efforts. A student of Monte's many years ago, author Pat Conroy writes, "I wanted to follow Mr. Monte around for the rest of my life, learning everything he wished to share or impart."
Rebecca Boyle: Rebecca Boyle, this year's rookie teacher, entered Farquhar Middle School this school year with infectious enthusiasm. This energy fills her classroom, where she is well known for her organization. A hard worker, she is often found at school for 10 to 12 hours a day. This dedication has allowed her to support students who need extra help and to keep in touch with parents. She works on the Extended Day study skills class as well as taking on the role of yearbook advisor.