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October 2, 2013

Cudzilo named Hilton CSD’s 2013-14 Teacher of the Year

The Hilton Central Schools Teachers Association [HCSTA] 2013-14 selection of the Teacher of the Year was presented at the annual staff convocation at Hilton High School in September. This year's honoree is Merton Williams Middle School earth science teacher Steve Cudzilo, who was honored for his witty personality, passion for teaching, and for always striving to be a lifelong learner.

Cudzilo has been teaching for 16 years, 14 in the Hilton School District. “I am proud to call myself a Hilton teacher!” he said. “I have taught eighth grade earth science at Merton Williams the entire time and have loved every minute of it.” Cudzilo is also co-advisor for the Hilton Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society and Science Olympiad.

This year, Cudzilo earned his National Board Certification, a process that took him about a year to complete. National Board Certification is a voluntary, advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure and is supported by the National Education Association. Cudzilo wrote four detailed essays about his teaching practices, submitted two 20-minute videos of his lessons and took a four-hour written exam that addressed how to successfully teach science concepts to middle and high school students, and how to respond to science misconceptions students often have.

Cudzilo was inspired to begin teaching after coaching swimming and working as a camp counselor. “What I love most about my job is when students genuinely get excited about learning something new and share stories about how they applied it to their lives or how they taught their parents what they learned,” he said. “They are so proud of themselves. It’s great to see students excited and engaged.”

Cudzilo and his wife, Stacey, have two sons, Matthew and Jonathan, who are students at Hilton’s Quest Elementary School. The couple also owns the Park Avenue Salon and Day Spa in Rochester.

Nominees are screened by the HCSTA Teacher of the Year Committee chaired by Merton Williams Middle School teacher Marie Ward. Letters of recommendation are collected from colleagues, parents and students. The finalists for the award this year were:  Tim Ackroyd and Carol Cowan, Hilton High School; Krisann Craney, Village Elementary School; Carol Jones and Stephanie Harney, Quest Elementary School; and Donna Serenka and Deb Valentine, Northwood Elementary School. Nominees must have more than five years of exceptional service to the district, active involvement in the Hilton community, and have made a substantial impact on the lives of their students and colleagues.                                                   

Candidates are represented by their nominator[s] at a meeting in the spring during which they present a case for the candidate. Each year our panel hears testimony, reads letters and documents, and listens to tapes as the individual or group validating a particular candidate heightens the panel’s awareness of the accomplishments of their nominee. Candidates are selected on their past and current performance in the following areas listed below.  The degree to which each has exemplified these characteristics is also taken into account.  The order listed below is not indicative of its importance; each category is of equal value to the Hilton Learning Community. Please remember that every candidate must have completed five years of service to the district.

CRITERIA & SELECTION PROCESS   Candidates are judged on their past and current performance in the four areas and information for your candidate should document the following:

The degree to which each has exemplified these characteristics is also taken into account.  The order listed below is not indicative of its importance; each category is of equal value to the Hilton Learning Community.  Please remember that every candidate must have completed five years of service to the district and is a current member of the Hilton Central Schools Teachers Association [HCSTA]. Candidates are represented by their nominator[s] at a meeting in May during which they present a case for the candidate. Each year our panel hears testimony, reads letters and documents and /or listens to tapes of the accomplishments of their nominee.  With all of these taken into consideration, individuals on the selection panel then score and rank the candidates. With all of these taken into consideration, individuals on the selection panel then holistically score and rank the candidates.

Nomination Form

For further information, please contact Teacher of the Year Chairperson Debbie Montrallo at Hilton High School, 400 East Ave., Hilton, NY 14468.  Questions: 585-392-1000, ext. 3511.

2012-13 Teacher of the Year - Merton Williams Middle School Teacher Pamela Tenny
2011-12 Teacher of the Year - Northwood Elementary School Teacher Patricia Mee
2010-11 Teacher of the Year - Quest Elementary School Teacher Greg Booth
2009-10 Teacher of the Year - Northwood Elementary School Teacher Cheryl Lee
2008-09 Teacher of the Year - Quest Elementary School Teacher Nancy Johnstone
2007-08 Teacher of the Year - Village Elementary School Teacher Charles Palella 2006-07 Teacher of the Year - Hilton High School Teacher Linda Bohrer 2005-06 Teacher of the Year - Village Elementary School Teacher Ed Donnelly 2004-05 Teacher of Year - Merton Williams Middle School Marcia Sheremeta

For more about the Hilton Central Schools Teachers Association.