Board of Education honors tenure recipients, long-serving SWBOCES employees

Thanks and congratulations were the themes of the evening as the Southern Westchester BOCES Board of Education and administration celebrated 13 educators and honored 27 employees for their years of service to the organization.

A reception was held prior to the Oct. 11 Board of Education meeting in honor of these individuals.

Tenure is an employment status educators earn following a period of probationary employment. It is a significant career milestone and accomplishment that reflects the commitment and trust extended by the district. Tenure recipients have proven themselves as highly capable professionals who reflect the mission, vision and values of Southern Westchester BOCES. 

"It's an amazing testament to the organization, to you and to your coworkers," said Board President John Filiberti. "It's difficult to last anywhere unless you're working somewhere that you're happy and you feel you're part of the team."

He thanked all of the honorees for choosing to share their talent and dedication with Southern Westchester BOCES and the communities its serves.

District Superintendent Dr. Harold Coles noted that this annual ceremony made its post-pandemic comeback last year and drew an even bigger audience of colleagues and family members this year. 

"Thank you very much for your commitment," Dr. Coles said. "We can't do this alone, and we can't do this without you."

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Brendan Lyons emceed the ceremony and called each honoree up to receive a certificate and take a photo with senior administrators.

"You are Southern Westchester BOCES," Dr. Lyons said. "You make the magic happen every day."

  • Alexis Papandrea, Teaching Assistant
  • Amber Rice, Teaching Assistant
  • Daniella Phelan, School Psychologist
  • Deepa Varghese, Teaching Assistant
  • Hollie Smith, Teacher
  • Katharina von-Knorring Dixon, Teacher
  • Leah Harris, Teacher
  • Mary Elizabeth Wilson, Sr. Director of Professional Development & Instructional Technology
  • Michael May, Teacher
  • Nicole Celentano, School Social Worker
  • Todd Santabarbara, Director-Interscholastic Athletics
  • Tracy Racicot, Director-Adult & Community Services
  • Zsuzsanna Kozmane-Fejes, Teacher

Meanwhile, the following long-serving employees were honored on the occasion of their 10th, 20th, 30th or 40th anniversaries, combining to represent more than 480 total years of service: 

40 years
Michael Jones, Security Aide

30 years

Jemal Palevic, Cook-Manager; Lisa N. Culler, Teacher; Mitch Cohen, Teacher

20 years
Alison Strauzer, Health Claims Processor; Billie Dolan, Teacher; Douglas H. Miller, School Psychologist; Jacqueline Hughes, Sports Desk Assistant; Karen Berens, Occupational Therapist; Marie Blanc, Teaching Assistant; Mark DeFillippo, Associate Network Specialist; Marie R. Emile, Teacher Aide; Melissa Santoro, Teacher; Nelson Diaz, Teacher Aide; Tracey A. Lombardo, Teacher; Wendy Beddoes-Muller, Teacher Aide

10 years
Alberta Grant-Johnson, Principal; Carla C. Ciamarra, Customer Service Coordinator-Student Services; Christina D’Aiello, Assistant Director-Administrative/Management Services; Cristina Tompkins, Guidance Counselor; Gildariany Estades, Secretary to School Administrator; Jose A. Gonzalez, Customer Service Representative; Letizia Noce, Teacher; Natalia Baage-Lord, Public Relations Specialist; Michael Bragg, Network Specialist; Valencia H. Dawson, Systems Analyst Programmer; Victor Pineiro, Director-Technology