South Huntington’s Best Honored

Filed under: Around Town,News,South Huntington Union Free School District |

By Steve Bartholomew

Jaime Rogers

Photo above: Left to right: Joe Centamore, Kathie Acker, Jaime Rogers, Dave Bennardo, Jim Kaden, and NYS Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci.

The South Huntington Board of Education, the district’s administrators, and the South Huntington learning community were out in full force on February 12th, to give well-deserved recognition and praise to their top teachers during this annual celebration.

“The teachers being honored have demonstrated a belief in our children; have inspired them to achieve new heights and have influenced all those whose paths they have crossed,” said Dr. Joseph T. Centamore, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and District Services.

South Huntington’s district wide teacher of the year is Mr. Jaime Rogers. To say Mr. Rogers is just a Physics teacher at Whitman would do him a disservice to say the least. Walt Whitman Principal Ms. Kathleen Acker has this to say about her honoree:

“Jaime Rogers one of the most deserving individuals of this honor that I have met during my 15 years at Walt Whitman High School. He has spent the past 9 years teaching Physics and Robotics at the high school.  To say his presence is larger than life is an understatement.  I have never met a kinder, more selfless, dedicated, humble professional than Mr. Rogers.”

“Mr. Rogers has the ability to reach all students.  He truly looks at each student individually and has the ability to foster confidence in them using strengths that he has identified.  He creates an environment where students feel safe to be themselves in front of others while learning the importance of accepting others for who they are,” continued Principal Acker.

 “When Mr. Rogers is not volunteering at every school event as an EMS licensed professional; to ensure the safety of staff and students, he is running multiple fund raisers.  The St. Baldrick’s fundraiser he began participating in years ago has become a district wide event with students from all schools raising money and getting their heads shaved in support of this outstanding organization, to date he has raised over $30,000. He is also very active in raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project and spends many weekends riding his motorcycle to hospitals delivering toys to children.”

Walt Whitman senior and Robotics Club president Thomas Ciravolo had this to say about Mr. Rogers: “We do better because he believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. He expects us to show pride in what we do. Win or lose we are expected to show good sportsmanship because we represent Whitman High School and respect one another. We are expected to accomplish things we never thought possible.”

Congratulations to all these fine teachers, who make a difference and truly love what they do.


Simone DaRos- Teacher of the Year

“Simone has been a teacher at Oakwood for over 20 years as a first and second grade teacher as well as in the Dual Language Program. She has many interests including the environment, animal welfare and birds. She is a Wildlife Rehabilitator and is on the Town of Huntington Trails committee. She brings her love of science to her students in many ways. She was instrumental in developing the Oakwood Schoolyard Habitat as an outdoor environmental classroom and continues to work on providing materials for teachers.”  Eileen Kerrigan, Principal


Susan Schwartz- Teacher of the Year

“Susan is an exceptionally skilled and highly effective teacher who assumes her professional responsibilities with a serious, conscientious attitude.  She provides enriching, engaging learning experiences for her first graders conducive to personal growth and academic success.  She takes genuine interest in all of her students and works diligently to address their varied needs and learning styles.  Susan knows the importance of parent involvement, fostering a strong home-school connection.  She is a role model for other educators and her passion for teaching is contagious.” Barbara Kenney, Principal


Kellianne Roth- Teacher of the Year

“Kellianne is a true professional who has dedicated herself to making a difference in the lives of students.  In my time working with Kellianne, I have marveled at the way she cares for children.  She is a dedicated professional who is genuinely concerned about the personal growth and intellectual development of her students.  She understands how students learn best and uses this knowledge to create and implement lessons that allow students the opportunity to grow.”  Anthony Ciccarelli, Principal


Christine Columbano- Teacher of the Year

“Christine is a positive, influential leader of the third grade community here at Maplewood.  Colleagues often seek her out for advice on professional matters.  The following are quotes from her peers:   “Christine is a team player and highly respected.  She gives of herself willingly, and always with a smile”; “Christine has been an excellent role model during her years here at Maplewood”; “Christine is always professional.  She is respected by parents and students.  She inspires all students to learn with her calm and positive demeanor.” Vito D’Elia, Principal 

Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center

Natalie Miller- Teacher of the Year

“Natalie is dedicated, enthusiastic, motivating, supportive, and willing to take on new challenges.  She is a well-rounded, positive role model to all students that cross her path.  She is sensitive, thoughtful, compassionate and always prepared.  Her dedication to her students is shown in ways too numerous to count.   Natalie has played an active role in the building’s STEM initiative and helped to revamp the STEM Curriculum Fair.  In short she is a vital part of the Silas Wood team.”  Steve Toto, Principal

Stimson Middle School

Keith Gunsel- Teacher of the Year

“Keith has been a member of the Stimson family since 2002 and is dedicated to the students he teaches.  Keith embodies what it means to be an enthusiastic educator.  This enthusiasm is infectious and can be found on the faces of the students he teaches. He truly has a profound impact on the culture at Henry L. Stimson Middle School.  Apart from his teaching duties, Keith is an active member of the United States Navy and volunteer member of Huntington Manor Fire Department.”  Edwin Smith, Principal

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