Orleans/Niagara BOCES recently named its employees of the year for the 2020-2021 school year.

Employees are nominated by their peers and a committee selects an awardee in each of these categories: administrator, clerical, continuing education, custodial / maintenance, staff specialist, substitute, teacher aide and teacher.

Rob Robinson, assistant principal at Niagara Career and Technical Education Center, is the administrator of the year. After five years at the TEC, Robinson says his favorite part of his job is helping people see that they have the ability within them to make a difference in the lives of others. “I work with hardworking and amazing administrators, so I’m surprised and honored to receive the administrator of the year award,” he said.

Sabrina Stabler, secretary to the principal at Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, is the clerical person of the year. Appointed to the post in July 2020, she said, “I love being able to help out the students, teachers and other staff members and being a small part of making the school run. I never realized how many moving pieces that need to run smoothly for a school to operate so it is really humbling and exciting to be part of that every day. ... Hearing the student success stories makes me remember that all the work we do, however big or small, is all worth it.”

Linda Redfield Shakoor, English as a Second Language / civics teacher since 1994, is the continuing education employee of the year. Shakoor also co-coordinates an ESL / Citizenship program at the World Life Institute Education Center in Waterport. She says her favorite part of her job is getting to know the primarily agriculture adult students, their lives, their work and their challenges.

Bobby Heschke, 33-year courier, is the custodian / maintenance person of the year. His favorite part of his job is, he said, “being able to drive around and meet all the good people in the school districts we serve and of course our BOCES employees. ... I really enjoy working here.”

Paul Nawotka, 19-year safety risk analyst, is the staff specialist of the year. The award was unexpected, he said. “I am so very thankful, but it is really a team effort and I’d like to thank the other members of the Safety Risk department, both current and former members.”

Carol Hausrath was named the substitute of the year. She has been a teacher for more than 50 years and been subbing with Orleans/Niagara BOCES for almost 20 years, most recently at the Royalton-Hartland Learning Center. Her favorite part of what she does is working with children. “They just melt my heart,” she said. The award “is the best thing that has happened to me in my educational career,” she added.

April Matson is the teacher aide of the year. Currently assigned to the Royalton-Hartland Learning Center, she has been working with BOCES for 30 years. “My favorite part of my job is working one-on-one with the students. I really enjoy watching the students grow year-to-year,” she said. “I work with a great group of people.”

Matt Anastasi was named the teacher of the year. He has been teaching Building Trades at Orleans Career and Technical Education Center for 20 years. “There is no better feeling than seeing the light inside a student get turned on and seeing how much they get inspired to continue learning and working in the field,” he said.

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