Honors and Awards

8/26/2019 - Meet our Paraeducator of the Year! Ms. Patty Shay!

Congratulations to Patty Shay! Region 15 Paraeducator of the Year!

Mr. Michael Bernardi, Principal of RMS, Ms. Shay, Dr. Jessica Sciaretto, Director of Student Services

Joshua Smith, Superintendent of Region 15 Public Schools, has announced that Patty Shay, Special Education Instructional Assistant at Rochambeau Middle School (RMS) and 9-year educator in the district, has been chosen to serve as Region 15’s 2019-20 Paraeducator of the Year.  Mrs. Shay has worked in the district since 2010, working at Pomperaug Elementary School for two years and then at Rochambeau Middle School (RMS) since the 2012-13 school year.

Her position as a Special Education Instructional Assistant, falls within the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) category of a Paraeducator, whose job is to assist certified teachers in the classroom and whom plays an integral role in developing students’ academic, social, and emotional skills.

Mrs. Shay is engaging, caring, patient and compassionate.  Her in-depth knowledge of the students’ strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles fosters effective instruction and her kindness, knowledge, and passion has earned the trust, respect, and admiration of her students, parents, and colleagues alike.

Her fellow educators at RMS describe her as an individual who is “an invaluable member of our school community, an asset in our classrooms, a supporter of her students, and an incredibly vested member of our overall academic program.”  Colleagues talk about how she is the “consummate team leader and team player, who treats everyone with respect and kindness, and establishes a team spirit and positive attitude toward school as a place where everyone can discover and achieve and learning can be fun.”

Her commitment to her students is unwavering, utilizing all resources when working and planning for her students, advocating for their needs, and celebrating their accomplishments.  She is a cheerleader and supporter, whether she is helping students prepare for a test or encouraging them to independently walk across a stage in front of hundreds of people to accept a middle school certificate.  She recognizes that some of these successes, which may be easily taken for granted by others’, could be the culmination of months of practice and skills that were originally significant challenges for the student.

Most importantly, she recognizes the value in developing relationships with her students to make them feel empowered and safe.  Her genuine investment in their success fosters meaningful connections,  “Without a solid foundation and relationships built on trust and respect, no quality learning will happen,” said Mrs. Shay.

 “In Mrs. Shay, we could not ask for a more ideal representation of how an educator’s commitment and genuine concern for our students’ well-being is vital to achievement.  She truly understands how student success is hinged on developing relationships and knowing each student personally. Each and every day she is willing to go the extra step to make sure her students reach their potential, and as a community we are grateful for her dedication,” said Smith.

This is the first year that Region 15 has participated in the Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year award.  CSDE recognizes Paraeducators selected each year by their districts for their accomplishments and contribution to the students they serve, their schools and their communities.  Each year, one of these honorees is selected by the CSDE as the recipient of the Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Award. This individual serves as the spokesperson and representative of the paraeducator profession in Connecticut during the following year.   In March 2013, the CSDE and the School Paraprofessional Advisory Council renamed the Connecticut Paraeducator of the Year Award to the Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Award in honor of Anne Marie Murphy, a special education paraprofessional who lost her life during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.