Amesbury salutes excellence in education, educators | News

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AMESBURY — A baker’s dozen of city educators were honored by their peers for providing “Excellence in Education” Monday afternoon.

Amesbury Public Schools takes annual nominations from employees to name the best educators, based on: care and compassion; lifelong learning; leadership; creativity; support to others; and high expectations, among other criteria.

Luke Alley has spent the past 10 years teaching physical education at Amesbury Middle School and was one of the 13 educators honored at an Excellence in Education luncheon at The Flatbread Co.

Alley said the moment he sees something click with a student is what keeps him coming back, day after day.

“It’s when they finally get it and that excitement that you see in their eyes, when they discover a skill for the first time. That’s why I’m in this,” he said.

Sarah Luz is in the midst of her fourth year teaching the high school’s post graduate/special education students and said, getting her students working in the community is a highlight of what she does for a living.

“Seeing them in real life situations is really cool,” she said.

Amesbury Innovation High School special education teacher Evan Melanson quickly filled in as an English teacher as well this school year.

Melanson has been teaching for the past six years and said the connections he’s able to make with his students are the favorite part of his job.

“We work very closely with the same students over four years. So you really get to know them, see them grow and become who they are,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome.”

Cathy Mamakos has spent the past 20 years teaching special education at the middle school and said she and her fellow teachers have plenty to do but it’s the students that make everyday worthwhile.

“The kids are what you are there for and, when you get right down to it, that’s what puts a smile on your face everyday,” she said.

Amesbury Elementary School saw six employees, including 21-year paraprofessional Karen Pratt honored Monday.

Pratt said her students keep her young.

Pauline Fitzgerald has been teaching first and second grade for the past 14 years. The Amesbury Elementary School teacher said she wouldn’t be able to do the job without her work friends who help to keep her focused on her students.

Veteran educator Sue Kimball, with 32 years of teaching to date, has been teaching first and second grade at Amesbury Elementary School for the past two decades. She said it’s her students’ sense of humor that keeps her walking into the classroom every day.

“You can be having a really bad day but, when those little ones come in and smile and tell you their corny jokes, that changes everything,” she said.

Chrystal Florent has worked as an intensive special needs paraprofessional at Amesbury Elementary School for the past 10 years.

Florent said it’s the simple things, like watching her students learn how to perform essential routines such as washing their hands, that make the job worthwhile.

“There were a lot of skills that some of the students didn’t have and now they can do them,” she said.

Nicole Quadros, the Amesbury Elementary School nurse for the past five months, was honored by her colleagues as was Cashman Elementary School school secretary Linda Lynch. Lynch said the job she’s held for 11 years keeps her on her toes.

“It’s something different everyday, it’s never the same day twice,” Lynch said.

Lori Klucznik is in the midst of her first year working as a special education team facilitator at the Cashman Elementary School, after working eight years at the middle school.

Klucznik said her students also keep every school day “new and interesting.”

Cashman Elementary School second grade teacher Jennifer Hawrylciw and Amesbury Elementary School special education facilitator Rae Pritchett also were honored Monday.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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