Mohawk guidance counselor wins teaching award

  • Guidance counselor Taffy Ruggeri of Greenfield is the recipient of Mohawk’s Excellence in Teaching Award. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Recorder Staff
Thursday, March 08, 2018

BUCKLAND — Mohawk Trail Regional School District guidance counselor Taffy Ruggeri of Greenfield has received the 2018 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award for her district.

Ruggeri was nominated for this award as an educator who emphasizes the “whole child” and for her outstanding collaboration with fellow teachers. She has worked in the Mohawk school system since 2009, first as a clinician for the Mohawk Supported Classrooms program; and since 2013 as a guidance counselor for grades seven through nine.

Ruggeri works closely with the seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade teams to support students during important transitional years. She also meets with sixth-graders at the elementary schools to help them as they prepare to go to middle school; she hosts an annual “Step Up Day” and other outreach programs for students and their families as they prepare for seventh grade. Ruggeri is actively involved with social-emotional learning for middle school students, often collaborating with teachers in bullying prevention and harassment prevention issues.

“When students enter the middle school, Ms. Ruggeri meets with each student individually — getting to know them, their hopes, and their goals,” said Lynn R. Dole, co-principal at Mohawk Trail Regional School. “Students and families comment on how accessible and responsive Ms. Ruggeri is to their needs. Her fellow educators express how she is a great facilitator who is caring and compassionate; she is recognized as a problem-solver who is responsive to needs. She builds strong relationships with families, students, and staff, facilitating communication.”

Ruggeri will be honored at a banquet for Excellence in Teaching Award winners at the Log Cabin in Holyoke on Thursday, April 26.

Celebrating its 15th year, the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards Program is made possible by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, and MassMutual Life Insurance Company. It has recognized at least 1250 outstanding teachers in the region for their impact on students, colleagues, and schools since it began.

Winning teachers receive an engraved plaque and a $500 check, along with tuition incentives toward higher education courses; membership at WGBY and the local YMCAs of the Pioneer Valley; and other gifts. All 2018 winners will have the opportunity to submit a creative project idea for the Classroom Innovator Prize and receive an additional $250.

The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards annually honors outstanding educators from western Massachusetts, selected by superintendents in 45 school districts, with enrollment of at least 750 students.

“It’s amazing the difference a great teacher can make in a child’s life — someone who cares, motivates, and inspires,” said philanthropist Harold Grinspoon. “Along with my partners at the Davis Foundation and MassMutual, I am thrilled that we are able to honor over 100 talented local educators every spring.”