Several Plymouth State University alumni and faculty members from the College of Graduate Studies received the state’s top honors in education Saturday, June 10 during the New Hampshire Excellence in Education (EDies) Awards Ceremony, held at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.
Dr. Dennise Maslakowski, associate vice president for the College of Graduate Studies, received Phi Delta Kappa’s Education Award for her commitment to education at Plymouth State University and the state of New Hampshire. Maslakowski was praised for her 20 years of service and leadership at PSU, which has led to the creation of diverse degree programs, community partnerships and other opportunities for advanced graduate study.
Gregg Brighenti, who earned his principal certification at PSU in 2002, was honored as Assistant Principal of the Year from the NH Association of School Principals. Brighenti is currently the assistant principal at Pembroke Academy, and is working toward his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) at PSU.
“I have found my classes at PSU extremely helpful because they have all been relevant and timely. We learned and discussed issues that were real world-based, with the proper mixture of theory for background and understanding. PSU’s use of in-practice administrators to teach and co-teach classes was hugely beneficial, and added to the ability to build connections with colleagues across the state,” said Brighenti.
Alumnus Greg Superchi ’93 (G ’99), a math and pre-engineering teacher at Lisbon Regional School, was honored for his service to math and science education with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, an award sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
As one of 100 presidential nominees for this award, Superchi traveled to Washington, D.C. in May to attend an awards ceremony and other recognition activities. Superchi was honored again at the EDies reception on June 10 in New Hampshire.
Superchi, who is currently working toward his CAGS at PSU, has been teaching algebra, calculus and other mathematics courses in Lisbon since 1993. He also helped update the school’s mathematics curriculum and implemented Project Lead The Way, a pre-engineering program for high school students. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Superchi has been a coach for middle school soccer, basketball and softball.
Outside his service to Lisbon Regional School, Superchi has been a leader in mathematics education around the state. He has been a speaker at several New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics spring conferences and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual meetings; published research in the New Hampshire Journal of Education and presented a workshop at the NH-IMPACT Center. He is a member of New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In addition to his honor this year, Superchi was a State Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2003.
Jeff Caron ’92 (G ’98, CAGS ’02), the executive director of The Becket Family of Services, with schools based in Pike and Tilton, won the Supervision and Curriculum Development Award from the NH Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Caron says his undergraduate and graduate preparation at PSU have contributed significantly to his success in education administration.
“The academic faculty were not only educators, but mentors in my development,” said Caron.
Norma Bursaw ’77, a biology and science teacher at Salem High School, was also honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science. Bursaw began teaching in Salem right after graduating from PSU.
“Plymouth prepared me well to teach science,” Bursaw said. “In addition to learning the content, I had many great role models at Plymouth. I believe I learned better because I was in small classes with professors who took an interest in their students.”
Since graduating from PSU, Bursaw has attended several institutes at the University, including the Biotechnology Institute in 2004 and a “Students as Researchers” institute in 1995. This summer, she will teach the biotechnology component of the Science Technology Institute, held at PSU in July. Bursaw praised PSU faculty for being active partners in helping keep current science teachers up-to-date on teaching methods and scientific research and technology.
“It’s nice to see the faculty at Plymouth associated with professional development for high school teachers,” Bursaw said. “It is so important to stay current with new discoveries, especially in the field of biology.”
Other PSU alumni and faculty members honored with 2006 EDies include W. Michael Cozort (CAGS ’00), superintendent of Shaker Regional School District, who received the Superintendent of the Year award from the NH School Administrators Association; Emily K. Spear ’88 (G ’93), principal at Belmont Elementary School, who received the NH Association of School Principals’ Elementary School Principal of the Year Award and Kathleen McCabe (CAGS ’01), assistant superintendent for the Governor Wentworth Regional School District, who received an Outstanding Service Award from the NH School Administrators Association. McCabe is a faculty member in the College of Graduate Studies.