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Smithtown Honors SCOPE Award Winners

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While this year’s annual SCOPE Awards dinner was postponed this year, the district administration and Board of Education wanted to acknowledge the honorees for their hard work and dedication. At the May 25 board of education meeting, five members of the Smithtown school community were recognized for their efforts with a 2021 Award of Excellence.

For support staff service, Christine Martucci was nominated for her hard work. She’s worked in the district for 27 years as a special education aide, clerk typist, senior clerk typist and most recently a principal office assistant. “As an integral member of the curriculum office, Ms. Martucci provides outstanding support to all members of the school community,” said Paul Strader, assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment. “She goes out of her way to assist even when the question or task is unrelated to her work. This year, Ms. Martucci has been instrumental in helping to reimagine all of our typical protocols by offering well-developed ideas that account for all variables in a given situation. Ms. Martucci is calm, patient, detail oriented and driven. Above all, Ms. Martucci approaches her daily work with the highest degree of humility and good humor.”

The teacher service award was bestowed to Sheila Tobin Cavooris, who served the district for the past 26 years as a tutor, elementary teacher, reading teacher and most recently a library media specialist. “Ms. Tobin Cavooris is an integral member of the Great Hollow Middle School community,” Mr. Strader said. “She has worked tirelessly to transform our library into a space that supports both students and faculty. In a traditional school year, Ms. Tobin Cavooris can be seen co-teaching with faculty members, working with students during their lunch periods, working with teachers in our teacher resource center, and helping students to create in our makerspace. During this past school year, Ms. Tobin Cavooris has strived to create a learning environment within the library that not only meets the academic needs of students and teachers, but an environment that meets their social and emotional needs as well, all while maintaining their health and safety.”

The administrator service award was presented to Neil Katz, assistant superintendent for personnel. “In a typical year, his job would be formidable enough, but when he volunteered to be the district’s COVID coordinator, his day-to-day responsibilities grew exponentially,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Secaur. “With calm and professionalism, he tackled every unprecedented task with a thoughtful approach and unwavering work ethic. He played an integral role in the formation of our plan, especially in the area of health and safety compliance with the established guidelines. His attention to detail and patience has been essential in explaining the evolving guidance and contact tracing requirements with the Department of Health as well as our staff and parents.”

Matthew Gribbin, Board of Education president, was honored for his service. “Mr. Gribbin assumed the position of president during the summer of 2020 as the district was in the midst of planning its response to the COVID pandemic for the 2020-2021 school year,” Dr. Secaur said. “In this role, he has provided steady and stable leadership at the very time it was most necessary. He has been a strong partner in the district’s attempts to balance the health, safety and academic needs of the students in our care and the staff that serve them. His student-centered approach coupled with a strong understanding of the need for the district to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars has helped place Smithtown in an advantageous position as we collectively navigate the challenges ahead.”

Smithtown resident Andrea Elsky was honored for her community service efforts. “While her daughter no longer attends our schools, she continues to be a force for good in our school community,” Mr. Strader said. “She was chosen as a Smithtown hero for her efforts during the pandemic. She has gone above and beyond to provide food, clothing and general support to the students and families who have struggled. She has volunteered within the district in many ways, including as a parent member to the Committee on Special Education where she assists parents and guardians with the CSE meeting process. She is a respected and effective advocate for the social, emotional and academic needs of the students in our care and we are thankful for her support.”