11 Pelham Faculty Members Granted Tenure

Eleven Pelham faculty members from the elementary, middle and high schools were honored with tenure at Monday night's Board of Education meeting.

Eleven Pelham faculty members--from the elementary, middle and high schools--earned tenure at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting. The honored faculty members celebrated at a reception, were acknowledged by their respective principals and Superintendent Dr. Dennis Lauro gave each one his “complete endorsement.”

Eleni Liapis
Special Education
Prospect Hill Elementary
Eleni Liapis first worked as a one-to-one monitor at Siwanoy, before becoming a teaching assistant in the ACE Program at Prospect Hill. In 2008, she was hired as a full time Special Education teacher at the Hutchinson School and then headed up the grades 3-5 ACE program at Prospect Hill. “She has an incredible talent for meeting the needs of students with very specific, academic, social and emotional needs,” remarked Principal Robert Roelle. “She’s not only a wonderful teacher, but she’s an incredibly positive and collaborative member of our faculty.”

Lauren Ribeiro
Supervisor, Special Education
Elementary Schools
Before launching her education career, Lauren Ribeiro completed her master’s degree and doctorate in Applied Behavioral Analysis and Behavior Disorders from Columbia Teacher’s College. Lauren Ribeiro went on to work at the Fred S. Keller School in Yonkers, where she served as both a teacher and in a role equivalent to that of the assistant principal. Ribeiro currently works as a supervisor for the Special Education programs in the elementary schools. “I truly felt that I was getting the proper attention that I deserve as a mother and a taxpayer,” Lauro quoted one parent having said about Ribeiro. “All my expectations were met.”

Lorraine Sanginito
Teaching assistant
Prospect Hill
Lorraine Sanginito earned tenure as a teaching assistant at the Prospect Hill Elementary School.“She is reflective and responsive and always demonstrates eagerness to learn more,” said Roelle. “Lauren is such an asset to the program.”

Stephen Broege
Social Studies
Pelham Middle School
Stephen Broege has taught social studies at the Pelham Middle School for the past 14 years where he began his career instructing sixth graders. He went on to pursue his graduate studies in history while teaching here. “He quickly developed outstanding relationships with kids, colleagues and of course, parents,” remarked Principal Joseph Longobardi. “We were immediately pleased that we made the decision to hire this rookie."

Stephen Codella
Pelham Memorial High School
Stephen Codella began teaching sixth grade math in Pelham and moved onto the high school in 2008 to teach algebra, geometry and intermediate algebra. “He is always there to help whenever you need him,” Principal Jeannine Clark quoted one of Cadella's students having said. “He explains things really well.” Cadella is also an avid Giants and Yankees fan whose office is teeming with memorabilia, from tissue boxes to Post-It notes. But it’s his natural flair for the subject that Clark said she appreciates. “You are one of the most natural mathematicians in the department, a wonderful teacher and a welcome addition to our school,” Clark remarked.

Francis Joseph Dwyer
Pelham Middle School
Before joining the Pelham Middle School faculty three years ago, Francis Joseph Dwyer had a long and successful career working as an editor at Newsweek Magazine. Principal Longobardi noted that while Dwyer pushes his students to excel at the highest possible level, he also makes himself available to students who need extra help. “During his tenure in Pelham, Joe has worked tirelessly to prepare his students and determine ways to motivate young adolescents--not always an easy chore,” Longobardi said. His learning techniques are designed to engage his students in an active and meaningful manner.”

David Schembari
Pelham Memorial High School
David Schembari returned to his hometown of Westchester three years ago to teach in Pelham, after teaching in a district in upstate New York. Schembari aims to make physics “fun” for his students by organizing events like a day at Six Flags Great Adventure, where his pupils can apply what they learn in the classroom to the roller coasters that they ride. “When the learning is made fun and they’re engaged, that’s really where they make strong connections,” Schembari remarked. Schembari has helped increase the number of physics teachers in the department, bringing the number of full time faculty to three.“Dave Schembari is an amazing teacher, mentor and person,” said Clark.

Michael Solazzo
Special Education
Pelham Memorial High School
Michael Solazzo began his career in Pelham in 2006 as a monitor in the Special Education program at PMHS, while he simulataneously worked on getting his certification. Solazzo went on to work at the high school’s Foundations of Learning program in 2008 and currently works with the neediest academic population in the high school. “He encourages the students to take risks and continually monitors their performance,” Clark said. “He’s patient, devoted and always has a smile.”

Brian Terry
Pelham Middle School and Pelham Memorial High School
Brian Terry joined the Pelham district two years ago as a science teacher to instruct both middle and high school students. Terry’s lessons are often complex, yet engaging and entertaining, since he incorporates current events and original documents into his lesson plans. While teaching his class about energy conservation, he brought in his utility bill to demonstrate the high costs. “While walking down the hallway with Mr. Terry, I am always amazed at how many students greet him or give him a high-five,” Clark noted. “They seem to go out of their way to say 'hello' to him.”

Gretchen Thunnell
Special Education
Pelham Middle School
Gretchen Thunnel has worked as a Special Education teacher at both the Hutchinson School and the Pelham Middle School and is certified in both English and Special Education. “She has demonstrated her dedication, strong work ethic and her determination on behalf of our children with special needs,” Longobardi shared. 

Michele Zanky
Pelham Memorial High School and Pelham Middle School
Michele Zanky, a professional violinist, has taught music in the Pelham district for the past nine years, and has worked full time here for the past three years. Zanky teaches the high school and middle school orchestra and teaches general music to sixth graders. Next year, she’ll be teaching music theory. Zanky aims to work with each student at his or her own level, while also challenging each one to advance their skill sets. “Dr. Zanky is an incredible orchestra conductor because she works hard at making all of us better musicians,” Clark quoted a student.


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