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September 8, 2016

Harney named Hilton CSD’s 2016-17 Teacher of the Year

The Hilton Central Schools Teachers Association (HCSTA) 2016-17 Teacher of the Year Award was presented at the annual staff convocation at Hilton High School in September. This year's honoree is Quest Elementary School Library Media Specialist Stephanie Harney, who is described by students and staff as creative, a good listener, passionate, and even a superhero.

Harney joined the Hilton School District in 1996 as a classroom teacher at Northwood Elementary School. She taught for two years in PA before returning to Hilton in 2001 as a library media specialist at Village Elementary School. In 2007, she joined the staff at Quest Elementary School because of an interest in the International Baccalaureate Programme, and a love for research and inquiry.

At Quest, Harney has grown the library collection from 15,000 to approximately 21,267 books and 2,304 e-books. She was instrumental in winning Quest two Follett Challenge Grants - $5,000 in 2014 and $30,000 in 2016. "Stephanie works hard to make sure the inventory in the library is aligned with current planners," said Nancy Pickering, Board of Education president. "She cares so deeply for all of our students, and students fall in love with the library and all that a world-class library can offer...because of Stephanie."

In the Hilton community, Harney is the driving force behind Hilton Cares, an organization dedicated to projects that impact the health and well being of children in the Hilton School District. As president, Harney has directed projects that include a much-needed home renovation for a Hilton family, an annual coat drive, a scholarship fund and sponsorship of a 5K for a Quest student battling a rare disease.

Harney has a bachelor of science in early childhood education from Lock Haven University, a master's degree in education from The College at Brockport, and a master's degree in school library and information technologies from Mansfield State University of PA.

Nominees are screened by the HCSTA Teacher of the Year Committee chaired by Hilton High School teacher Debbie Montrallo. Letters of recommendation are collected from colleagues, parents and students. The finalists for this year's award were: Joelle Cain and Mike Childs, Hilton High School; Nicole Allen-Hickey and Scott Meagher, Merton Williams Middle School; Christine Clark and Laura Mayer, Northwood Elementary School; Alicia Francesca, Quest Elementary School; and Ammie Cummings and Michele Farrell, Village 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 the selection panel hears testimony and reads letters and documents on each nominee. Candidates are selected on their past and current performance in the areas listed below. The degree to which each has exemplified these characteristics is also taken into account. The selection panel then scores and ranks the candidates. The order listed below is not indicative of its importance; each category is of equal value to the Hilton Learning Community.

* The candidate’s professional knowledge exhibited in the subject areas taught.
* The candidate’s professional ability to affect a positive learning difference with the students he or she encounters.
* The candidate’s professional ability to work with colleagues and parents.
* The candidates commitment to his/her profession that endures beyond the minimum teaching day.

Nomination Form

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

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.