Denise McGaughran (2021) Cristen Charnley (2020)
Our program featured the annual Ritchey J. Ricci Teacher of the Year Award. Ritchey was on hand to personally explain the history behind the award. The first award was presented in 2012. The winner was Marla Kinney, a teacher at March Elementary School in Easton. Shortly thereafter the Award was doubled to $1,000 and renamed. The first Ritchey J. Ricci Award went to Paul Stewart of Wilson High School in 2014.
Program Chair Shelly Gottlieb spoke about the importance of the children in our community and the vital role that teachers play in preparing these young people for their adult lives. Teachers in this school year faced challenges unlike no other time in history. They were forced to adapt to new schedules and technology. They were teaching students that were isolated and dealing with disrupted family situations. Through it all, the teachers found ways to succeed. The teachers nominated by the Career Institute of Technology made for a difficult choice. Shelly thanked Amy Korman, Ritchey Ricci, Don Lockard, Mike Dowd, and Lynn Schoof for their work on the selection committee.
The 2021 Ritchey J. Ricci Award was presented to Denise McGaughran who teaches in the Health Related Technology sector at CIT. Denise attended C1T as a senior at Easton High. She then studied at Cedar Crest College to become a Registered Nurse. Her path led her back to CIT where she has taught for the past 19 years. She also teaches at Penn State. When she wasn’t in the classroom she helped raise 5 boys and is currently finishing her Masters in Education at Temple University. She plans to use the Award money to enable her students to attend a virtual autopsy.
The 2020 winner Cristen Charnley has been teaching mathematics at Easton High for 17 years. She has taught all grade levels and all subjects. Currently she is focused on calculus and algebra. All of her classes have been online which forced her to develop new tools to interact with students. Recognizing that her situation was not unique, she found resources online to help. She spent much of the Award money with an organization called Teachers Pay Teachers which is an outstanding source of assistance for all teachers. She noted that it took much longer than usual to get to know her students, many of whom appeared simply as a blank screen. Her students were under an unusual amount of stress, partly because they weren’t able to have a personal connection with their peers.