Each year, the Mid-Hudson School Study Council honors those in the education field who display excellence in their field. This year, four nominees from the Pine Bush Central School District are being recognized by the MHSSC for their excellence to our district and our students:
- Delfina Carvalho – Excellence in Support Staff
- Michael Gillespie – Excellence in Administration
- Gretchen Meier – Excellence in School Board Service
- Marilyn (Lyn) Prestia – Excellence in Pupil Personnel Service
Carvalho has worked as the head custodian at EJ Russell Elementary School for 20 years. In the nomination letter, submitted by Superintendent Tim Mains, Jim Licardi and Moira Roberts, Carvalho is described as a tireless worker whose “thorough work and dedication are obvious in everything she does.”
Always flexible, responsive and willing to help, Del, as she is known to those around her, has high expectations of herself and meets them every day.
“Her attitude and work ethic, as well as her maintenance, operation and management skills, make her a deserving candidate of an Award of Excellence as she strives for excellence each and every day,” according to her nomination.
Gillespie came to the Pine Bush district four years ago as its director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics. In Superintendent Tim Mains’ nomination letter, he calls Gillespie tireless in his development of a safe work environment for staff, coaches and athletes.
“Mike has high and clear expectations for student athletes, coaches and teachers, and he leads by example,” Mains said in his letter. “Mike realizes that athletics is more than sports, it develops teamwork, time management skills and molds students into future leaders.”
Gillespie has been a teacher, coach, director of Human Resources and a principal. His heart, though, is in athletics and physical education.
“Mike’s work ethic is AMAZING,” Mains said, noting he is an outstanding and dedicated administrator.
Meier is currently the president of the Pine Bush Central School District Board of Education. She has served seven years on the board, even though her children have graduated. “Yet she remains committed to supporting our district through her service on the Board of Education, a position that comes with many challenges, more headaches than most people would want, and no pay,” according to Mains’ nomination letter. “Gretchen is a true leader in our community.”
Mains noted Meier’s dedication to providing a safer, more effective learning environment as well as her drive to offer high quality programs.
In this time of COVID-19, Meier, who is a physical therapist, has used her medical training and perspective to ensure that the district took a practical approach to the challenges created by it.
“Gretchen brought the community together and pulled us through, assuring everyone that the storm would not last forever,” Mains said.
Prestia is the director of School Nutrition in the district. While the district navigated so many different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prestia and her staff successfully coordinated a district-wide meal distribution program – practically overnight – that helped countless Pine Bush families throughout this pandemic. It was her steadfast leadership that allowed the district to serve more than 200,000 meals during the school closure from mid-March through June.
Then she wrote grants to secure funding for meal preparation and distribution through the summer.
In her 13 years in the district, she has transformed the district’s Food Service program, striving to provide enticing yet healthy meals for students.
“She has been a light in the darkness that helped our community at a time when families truly needed it most,” said Mains.
Our district is beyond proud that these four individuals have been honored for their excellence to our district by the Mid-Hudson School Study Council.