Board of Cooperative Educational Services » Spotlight Corner

Spotlight Corner

The Staff Spotlight Award is given to a WSWHE BOCES employee who is deserving of special recognition for exemplary performance, special achievements and for shining a positive light or bringing attention to the organization. They are our own BOCES beacons of light.

tony muller, shawn hunziker and kelly sheppard with the spotlight awardDr. Shawn Hunziker, Principal for Special Programs, F. Donald Myers Education Center

At the July 11, 2024 WSWHE BOCES Board meeting, Dr. Shawn Hunziker, Principal for Special Programs at the F. Donald Myers Education Center, was presented with a Spotlight Award.

Dr. Hunziker is retiring at the end of August, but that hasn't slowed him down. Throughout his career at WSWHE BOCES he has been a strong instructional leader, setting high expectations for rigorous and engaging instruction. He is the kind of instructional leader that prioritizes quality instruction in the classroom and he strives to support his staff in being able to do this.
“When I was the curriculum coordinator, I remember sitting and planning professional development with Dr. Hunziker for his faculty meetings. He was always looking for opportunities to enhance the learning of his staff," recalls Director for Exceptional Learners Kelly Sheppard.

In June Dr. Hunziker published an article in VANGUARD, a publication of the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS). His article, entitled Artificial Intelligence Professional Development, is the cherry on top of his career, as it perfectly showcases the thoughtfulness as a leader who seeks to support his staff, but also highlights his instructional leadership, always looking for ways to enhance instruction.

WSWHE BOCES presented the Spotlight Award to Dr. Hunziker in appreciation for the work that he has done, his years of service, and in recognition of his recent publication.
Here is a link to the article:  Artificial Intelligence Professional Learning
Spotlight awardCarrie VanTassel, Bruce Hoffmann, Brandon Aldous - CTE Works! Champions
At the February 14, 2024 Board of Education meeting, three dedicated staff members were awarded the WSWHE BOCES Staff Spotlight Award for their dedication and tremendous efforts on making the CTE Works! Event a success.
Carrie VanTassel, Coordinator for Innovative Programs, more than doubled student attendance from last year at this year’s CTE Works! Event. 
Bruce Hoffman, Work-Based Learning Coordinator, is acknowledged for the considerable time and effort he spent on Career Jam initiatives in the past and now CTE Works!, in enlisting our center-based CTE staff and student volunteers, which is another important component of the CTE Works! Event each year.
Brandon Aldous, Business and Entrepreneurship Instructor, WSWHE BOCES ECCA and SkillsUSA Lead Advisor, doubled sponsorship donations and increased booth offerings by at least 50% at this year’s CTE Works! Event. 
It is with much appreciation that the WSWHE BOCES board recognizes Carrie, Bruce and Brandon with Spotlight Awards.  
Photo (L to R): Carrie VanTassel, Bruce Hoffmann, Brandon Aldous
Myers Health Occupations Team - Danielle Rabideau, Elizabeth McQueen, Denise Altenburger.  Spotlight Award Dec 2023
At the December 13, 2023 Board of Education meeting three dedicated CTE staff members from the Health Occupations Team at the F. Donald Myers Center, were awarded the WSWHE BOCES Staff Spotlight Award.
These three went above and beyond during one of the Superintendent's days. During the afternoon of wellness, a staff member was having difficulty breathing and the three nurses sprang into action providing immediate assistance. They monitored vitals and created a calm and controlled scene. When EMS arrived they were able to provide all the necessary details to EMTs and ensure quality care as they transitioned the scene over.
It is with much appreciation that the WSWHE BOCES board recognizes Danielle, Elizabeth and Denise with Spotlight Awards.  

Photo (L to R): Danielle Rabideau, Elizabeth McQueen, Denise Altenburger, Jared Davis
John Rieger, WSWHE BOCES Board Member

photo of John RiegerAt the July 12, 2023 WSWHE BOCES Board of Education meeting, Board President John Rieger was presented with a Spotlight Award for his years of services to WSWHE BOCES as he concludes his role as board president. Rieger will continue to serve the organization as a board member. District Superintendent Turina Parker says, “John consistently encourages innovation and welcomes new ideas. His dedication to the students of the region is unparalleled.”

John Rieger was one of the youngest elected school board members in New York State. Rieger served on the Schuylerville Central School District Board of Education from 1963 until 1984. He was elected to the Saratoga-Warren BOCES Board of Education in 1984. He remained on the board which merged with the Hamilton, Essex and Washington BOCES to become WSWHE BOCES in 1993. Rieger received the New York State School Boards Association’s (NYSSBA) top award for school board service, the Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service, in 2018.


WSWHE BOCES is grateful for John Rieger's leadership and contribution to the organization and to the community.

Frank Finch and Shazima Gillani - High School Equivalency High School Equivalency program instructors
At the May 10, 2023 WSWHE BOCES Board of Education meeting, Frank Finch and Shazima Gillani were each awarded a Staff Spotlight Award. 
Frank Finch was named by the NY Association for Continuing and Community Education as a 2023 NYS Educator of the Year for his work in our High School Equivalency Program serving our adult community in the WSWHE region. Frank’s empathy and care for his students extends beyond the limited hours of classroom instruction. He demonstrates a passion and commitment to the mission of adult education to empower adult learners and ensures that his adult students are welcomed into a learning environment different from their prior experiences in K-12 education. He leads through selfless actions to ensure that his students have access to support and resources for the stabilization of their basic needs. He works to make a big deal of a student’s individual accomplishments, both large and small, celebrating as a group and getting everyone involved and excited about their journey.

Shazima Gillani received Honorable Mention Recognition by the NY Association for Continuing and Community Education as a 2023 NYS Educator of the Year for her work in our High School Equivalency Program serving our adult community in the WSWHE region. Shazima has been one of our dedicated instructors for the past nine years and demonstrates a keen awareness of her students through the relational trust that she works to establish with each learner and focuses her support to provide the learning environment that will enable each student to thrive within. She understands the ways that personal, home, employment and family needs can impact the learning process and works to support her students in developing skills across all domains. 
WSWHE BOCES is grateful for the work they do with the students and the spotlight award is a small thank you for this appreciation. 

Maribeth Macica and Dawn Neville - Public Information Team

Public Info TeamAt the December 14, 2022 WSWHE BOCES Board of Education meeting, Maribeth Macica and Dawn Neville were each awarded a Staff Spotlight Award. 


Maribeth Macica is a senior public information specialist at WSWHE BOCES. WSWHE BOCES Senior Executive Officer Anthony Muller said, “through Maribeth’s leadership over the years we have made tremendous progress in our branding and marketing efforts. Maribeth has been instrumental in the new look for all of our divisions. Starting with our BOCES logo, and then each of the divisions and programs, Maribeth’s vision for our BOCES has transformed the look of our organization.” 


When Dawn Neville, public information specialist, joined the team, she hit the ground running and very quickly began partnering with Maribeth to promote WSWHE BOCES programs and services. Dawn’s skills and expertise complement and add to our communications efforts. 


Muller said, “both Maribeth and Dawn professionally tell our BOCES story through videos, signs, posters, social media posts, photos, and a whole host of other media. Our BOCES image would not be as known throughout the region without the work that they have done, and continue to do on a regular basis.”


Most recently, WSWHE BOCES won three awards for the 2022 New York School Public Relations Association Contest. The entries were judged by public relations professionals from around the country. Two Awards of Excellence were given for a Women in Trades Poster and for the Women in Trades: Empower Your Future! Video, and an Award of Honor for our video Addressing the CTE Salary Aid Cap.


WSWHE BOCES thanks Maribeth and Dawn for all they do for the organization.

Therapeutic Support Program Staff: Lori Coffin, Terisa Clothier and Rose D'Dambro
three staff members and principalAt the July 13, 2022 Board meeting three dedicated staff members in the Therapeutic Support Program (TSP) were awarded the WSWHE BOCES Staff Spotlight Award. In June a student was in crisis and required immediate medical attention. Lori Coffin, Theresa Clothier, and Rose Drumm handled the situation in a calm, professional and time sensitive manner. Their quick actions provided the student with both the emotional and medical support that they required at the time. 

It is with gratitude that we recognize these amazing individuals for their dedication, quick response and continued service to WSWHE BOCES.  If it wasn’t for their immediate reaction, the ending of the story could have been much different. They made a positive difference in the life of this particular student and for that we say Thank You. To show our appreciation and acknowledge their efforts they presented with the WSWHE BOCES Spotlight Award.  

Lori Coffin works as an ELA teacher in TSP. Terisa Clothier is a teaching assistant in the ELA classroom in TSP.  Rose Drumm is a teaching assistant in the TSP social studies classroom.
Photo (left to right): Nancy DeStefano, Linda King, John Rieger, Rose D'Dambro, Lori Coffin, Terisa Clothier, and Shawn Hunziker.

Shannon Bitzer, Early Childhood Instructor
Shannon BitzerAt the December 8, 2021 WSWHE BOCES Board meeting, Shannon Bitzer was awarded a Staff Spotlight Award. 
Shannon Bitzer organized the first annual “Trucks & Treats” event at the F. Donald Myers Center that took place in the Fall of 2021. The idea originated as a way to raise scholarship funds for students in the Early Childhood Education program. After several idea revisions the committee settled on incorporating a “touch a truck” concept to provide community children with an interactive experience. Ultimately the Halloween-themed “Trucks & Treats” event saw a wide variety of vehicles; and was a huge success!
On October 30, 2022 more than 300 trick-or-treaters, 9 companies and 1 individual (all of whom were alumni from WSWHE BOCES) participated, despite the scattered rain that day. Public safety members were in attendance as well (law enforcement, National Guard and firefighters). $675.00 was raised in scholarship money. Several student volunteers from various programs helped keep things organized and the participants safe. It would not have been possible without them. The Criminal Justice students assisted with traffic and Culinary programs raised money by selling items during the event. 
It is because of the initiative and work that Shannon Bitzer put into planning and organizing “Trucks & Treats,” the WSWHE BOCES board recognizes her with the Spotlight Award.  

At the October 13, 2021 WSWHE BOCES Board of Education meeting, Dennis Flynn, Michelle Maddalla and Tony Muller were each awarded a Staff Spotlight Award. 

Dennis Flynn, CTE Instructor Dennis Flynn

In his role as Logistics Coordinator for the Washington County Fair, Dennis’ contributions to the Washington County Fair have certainly been exemplary. From arranging for the vehicles to be prepared ahead of time, to arranging for transport and setup, to running point during the fair, if something needed to be done, Dennis was always there to take care of things, with a smile. It's clear that Dennis sees the value in what we do for our students and for our region. His passion for CTE and for the trades is clear and evident. Dennis is a great partner, an excellent representative for our organization, and he has provided countless opportunities for students and teachers to showcase their trades at the Fair. Our Concessionaires award represents the work that he has done and the contributions he has made as a partner and a leader in the important work of our BOCES. This award is a small thank you and recognition of his efforts.



Michelle Maddalla

Michelle Maddalla, Principal for Innovative Programs

Michelle Madalla has done a phenomenal job of serving as coordinator of the Washington County Fair for the past several years. Her enthusiasm led her to encourage teacher participation, her planning skills and eye for details led to the development of innovative ideas and activities, and her contagious energy led to what has become an outstanding representation of our BOCES and the work that we do in our region. The receipt of the 2019 and 2021 Outstanding Concessionaire’s Award was in large part due to Michelle’s dedication to ensuring a high quality event. We are truly thankful for Michelle’s unwavering commitment and willingness to go above and beyond, and to meet any challenges with positivity and creative problem solving. When we embarked on this amazing idea to host a Women in Trades luncheon at the fair this year, it was wildly successful, in no small part due to Michelle’s leadership and partnership.



Tony Muller, Deputy District SuperintendentTony Muller

Sometimes it's all in the details. It's the leadership, the communication, the advocacy, the positive energy, and the ability to bring people together, that makes all the difference. Our work at the Washington County Fair, and our continued implementation of various initiatives that Tony has led, like testing, have enabled us to continue to provide a high level of seamless service for our students, and for our region. Tony’s leadership is unparalleled, and his dedication and commitment to the BOCES is appreciated and valued.

shayne bishop with spotlight awardShayne Bishop, Special Education Teacher
A Staff Spotlight Award was presented to Shayne Bishop at the March 9, 2021 Board of Education meeting. This has been an incredible year for Shayne Bishop. While many have experienced the impacts of the pandemic Shayne has achieved many milestones: Shayne recently bought a house, he recently got engaged, and on December 15th Shayne’s son Asher Benjamin was born. Things were not only great for Shayne personally but professionally as well. On February 10th Shayne was recognized by WNYT and SEFCU as a “Top Teacher”. Shayne was one of 13 teachers recognized out of 200 nominations!! Shayne received this recognition for the positive impact he has had on the students he works with. Shayne not only helps his students be good mathematicians but also good productive citizens. Shayne has a great rapport with his students and uses this to engage them in their course work. He often takes the topic being taught and ties it into the students’ interests. It is not uncommon to see students using their math skills while working on the garden, cooking beef jerky, making a 10-foot holiday tree out of measuring tapes, or studying projectile motion while looking at shooting a basketball or doing aerial tricks on a bike. Students even proposed using a mathematical equation to figure out how long it will take Mr. Bishop to go bald and look like Dr. Hunziker. These are all engagement activities that cannot be found in a text book or in the math modules but Shayne uses them to supplement the curriculum and engage students. Students look forward to going to Mr. Bishops class and joining him on the court for a game of basketball.
In addition to being selected as a “Top Teacher” Shayne has also been nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Finalists for this award will be announced in June.
Shayne Bishop is a role model for others in the field and he is a great ambassador for the BOCES. He is truly a professional and is continuously evaluating his work to provide his students with the highest level of instruction possible. It is because of Shayne Bishop’s commitment to excellence that he was recognized by the board.

Chef Matt Young with Staff Spotlight AwardChef Matt Young

Chef Matt Young was presented with the Staff Spotlight Award at the WSWHE BOCES Board of Education meeting on October 9, 2019. Chef Young played an instrumental part in the food service planning, purchasing and execution of the Adirondack School Board Association dinner in September 2019 at the Ballard Road Conference Center. His willingness to lead and organize this collaborative catering event which engaged the culinary teams from both the Myers Center and the Southern Adirondack Education Center, was exemplary and provided valuable real world experience for all of the students involved. Beginning in August, he made himself available on multiple occasions to meet with administration and plan the events menu and service. In addition, Chef Young provided guidance on how to properly outfit the new facility with equipment designed to handle future catering events. Chef Matt's "can do" attitude, quality of instruction and finished product is a credit to himself, the CTE division and our organization as a whole.


Woman holding awardExecutive Chef Celeste David

A Staff Spotlight Award was presented was presented to Executive Chef Celeste David at the WSWHE BOCES Board of Education meeting on September 11, 2019. Chef David demonstrated a high level of commitment, dedication and creativity as she worked hard to contribute to the Washington County Fair for the past two summers. Immediately upon joining the BOCES team last year, she came up with a menu that she thought would work well within our parameters at the fair. She also worked with Culinary Arts students who volunteered to prepare food for the fair and to be part of the demonstrations. She even trained students to help with the prep work. 


At the 2018 Washington County Fair Chef David gave two demonstrations of how to make homemade hummus and served it with a mezze platter. Those samples were prepared and packaged back at the F. Donald Myers Education Center and distributed at the fair during the demos. In 2019 she and her students demonstrated how to make grilled cheese with bacon onion jam and homemade potato chips on two different days at the fair. She also created the CTE Cupcake Challenge, a cupcake baking/decorating competition for kids ages 7-12.


Woman holding awardKim Wegner, Lead Coordinator for Innovative Programs
A Staff Spotlight Award was presented to Kim Wegner at the WSWHE BOCES Board of Education meeting on April 10, 2019. Kim’s article was recently featured in the SAANYS Vanguard Journal, Winter Edition. In her article, titled “Early College Career Academy: A partnership between SUNY Adirondack and WSWHE BOCES”, Kim highlighted the merits of this exceptional program, which has continued to grow since its inception in 2014. As Lead Coordinator for Innovative Programs, Kim has continuously maintained a focus on partnering with business and industry representatives to provide opportunities for students to gain valuable experiences and gain the skills needed to be able to contribute to the development of a skilled workforce in our region. Among many other accomplishments, she led the planning team for the Career Jam, an event that was sponsored by the core partners of Saratoga Economic Development Corporation, the BOCES, the Warren-Washington Workforce Development Board and members of the business community. As a result of this event, many middle school students now have a better sense of the companies in our region and the types of careers that exist in them. Greenwich Superintendent of Schools, Mark Fish, described the program as “high quality, one of the best things that's happened in our region.” That summarizes the work that Kim does - high quality, and focused on providing students with relevant opportunities. The Staff Spotlight Award is a small thank you and recognition of her efforts and her publication.