2019-2020 Recipients

Marilyn Ojeda (June 2019)
Marilyn Ojeda Honored as District’s  Fifth Mission Essential Recognition Program Honoree

Marilyn Ojeda, English as a New Language teacher at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, is the fifth recipient of the Lakeland Central School District’s Mission Essential Recognition Award.

Board President Denise Kness and Superintendent Dr. George Stone presented Ojeda with the award in a surprise ceremony held June 3 at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School. Recipients are given a specially developed pin and certificate. All winners will be recognized at the year-end Board of Education meeting in June.

“Marilyn always has a smile on her face, regardless of the intensity of the situation. She is kind and nurturing. She can make young children who are new to the country and very scared feel safe and secure with her kindness,” said the staff member who nominated her. “She makes every person and family feel as though they are important, welcomed, and that they matter,” they added.

“Marilyn never hesitates to help and always does so with a smile and welcomed sense of humor. Marilyn's role at Van Cortlandtville is crucial and she is irreplaceable,” they added. “Marilyn is accountable for the needs of many children, as well as their families. She is able to make sure that those who need information get it in a timely manner and is always available to facilitate further communication,” they added.

“Marilyn displays respect to her colleagues, administration, students, and families. No matter the situation, Marilyn treats everyone with the respect that they deserve.”

The goal of the Mission Essential Recognition Program, which began in January 2019, is to identify and recognize employees who, in their contributions and service to the District, exemplify the district’s Mission, Core Beliefs and Vision. These individuals are “Mission Essential.”

“We recognize and appreciate that the Lakeland Central School District is rich with talented and dedicated employees. Every staff member has an important role, responsibility and stake in the safety, security and success of our students.”

Although this is the final recognition for the 2018-2019 school year, the district will resume recognition in Fall 2019.

Any district staff member, student and community member can nominate District employees for consideration using the on-line form. A committee of district stakeholders will meet monthly to consider all nominations and select that month’s honoree.  Anyone not selected is reconsidered in the next review.


Kathleen McCay (May 2019)
Kathleen McCay Mission Essential
Kathleen McCay, a fourth grade teacher at Benjamin Franklin
Elementary School, was named the fourth recipient of the Lakeland Central School District’s Mission Essential Recognition Award.

Board Vice President Rachelle Nardelli and Superintendent Dr. George Stone presented McCay with the award in a surprise ceremony held May 7 at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. Recipients are given a specially designed pin and certificate. All winners will be recognized at the year-end Board of Education meeting in June.

“Ms. McCay is the type of teacher every parent hopes their child will have. She always goes above and beyond for the children and families she works with,” said Cristina Roncari, the parent who nominated Ms. McCay.


Dr. Margaret Rogers (April 2019)
Dr. Margaret Rogers, the district’s long-time physical therapist, is the thirdrecipient of the Lakeland Central School District’s Mission EssentialRecognition Award.

Dr. Margaret Rogers, the district’s long-time physical therapist, is the third recipient of the Lakeland Central School District’s Mission Essential Recognition Award.

Board President Denise Kness and Superintendent Dr. George Stone presented Dr. Rogers with the award in a surprise ceremony held today, April 10, at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School. Recipients are given a specially developed pin and certificate. All winners will be recognized at the year-end Board of Education meeting in June.

Anyone who knows or works with Margaret knows that she can be found on the move, running from building to building, as she carries out her duties as a physical therapist for students throughout the district.

“It is a privilege for me to nominate Margaret Rogers; she truly exemplifies all that is good in the world and demonstrates the BEST of Lakeland Central School District,” wrote her colleague Jennifer Kalbfell in nominating her.

“Margaret shows respect to all. She is caring and respectful of her students’ needs, making herself available to students when they need her assistance. She does not create a schedule that works for her, she always puts the needs of her students first,” said Kalbfell. “Margaret is one of the kindest people I know. She extends this kindness to both students and staff of the district. When students reach goals, she is their biggest cheerleader.  She is so exuberant and makes students feel like they have won a gold medal.” And her efforts extend to the students’ families and staff.

“Margaret has a strong sense of accountability and she strives to help students meet their PT goals in order that these students will be able to fully access their education, community and home,” added Kalbfell.

Her work extends beyond the school day and has included running an after school fitness program for  middle school and high students and  creating an after-school yoga program at the middle school and George Washington ES . In return, she only asks for a donation which is then given to a charitable cause within the district.


Susan LaCalamito (March 2019)
Susan LaCalamito, second recepient of the Lakeland Central School District's Mission Essential Recognition Award
We are excited to announce that Susan LaCalamito, a long-time school monitor at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School, is the second recipient of the Lakeland Central School District’s Mission Essential Recognition Award.

Board President Denise Kness, Board Vice President Rachelle Nardelli, and Superintendent Dr. George Stone presented LaCalamito with the award in a surprise ceremony held this morning, March 13, at the middle school. Recipients are given a specially developed pin and certificate. All winners will be recognized at the year-end Board of Education meeting in June. Annie Scarola, a Senior Office Assistant in the Pupil Personnel Services Department, was the first honoree in February 2019.

If you have ever been to the district’s middle school, Sue’s smiling face is the first one you typically see upon entering the building. A district employee since 2003, Sue began her time in Lakeland as a school monitor at Thomas Jefferson before taking her current position at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School in February 2009.

“There are so many times every day I watch her display the district's mission, vision and goals,” explained Kim Cardillo in nominating Sue for the award. “She looks to ensure the safety and security of students and the building at all times…If she sees an upset child or a family in need, she directs them to the proper channels or the proper channels to them.”

“Sue takes her job very serious. Safety and security is her number one priority at the front. She follows protocols with safety and security always, but is quick acting and thinking when an issue arises that needs judgment calls. She not only does her job well at the front desk, but she has it mastered,” said Cardillo.

“Sue is an exemplary employee that always goes above and beyond her job description to help others or do what is asked of her. You will never hear her say it is too much. She is beyond being a team player. She is highly deserving of this recognition. She is an asset to this district,” concluded Cardillo.

The goal of the Mission Essential Recognition Program, which began in January 2019, is to identify and recognize employees who, in their contributions and service to the District, exemplify the district’s Mission, Core Beliefs and Vision. These individuals are “Mission Essential.”

“We recognize and appreciate that the Lakeland Central School District is rich with talented and dedicated employees. EVERY staff member has an important role, responsibility and stake in the safety, security and success of our students.”

Any district staff member, students and community members can nominate District employees for consideration using the on-line form. A committee of district stakeholders will meet monthly to consider all nominations and select that month’s honoree.  Anyone not selected is reconsidered in the next review.


Annie Scarola (Feburary 2019)
Annie Scarola

Annie Scarola, a Senior Office Assistant in the Pupil Personnel Services Department, is the first recipient of the Lakeland Central School District’s Mission Essential Recognition Award.

Board President Denise Kness and Superintendent Dr. George Stone presented Scarola with the award in a surprise ceremony on February 8, 2019. Recipients are given a specially developed pin and certificate. All winners will be recognized at the year-end Board of Education meeting in  June.

Annie began working in the district in 2003 and came to the Pupil Personnel Services Department in January 2008.  In nominating her, Dr. Catherine Le Blanc cited the many ways that Annie meets each of the district’s core belief statements of respect, kindness, responsibility, accountability, and honest and ethical behavior.

“Each and every day Annie comes to work to help children and families. She interfaces with hundreds of providers, parents, administrators across 2-3 counties, and approaches all relationships with an open and honest attitude,” wrote Le Blanc. “She is the first staff person that our parents encounter. With each and every parent, from the youngest non-English speaking parent to great grandparents acting as guardians for their young family members, Annie listens to all parental concerns with patience and respect, wrote Le Blanc.  “In sum, please give attention and recognition to…a face that exemplifies the mission, vision and goals we all hold dear,” concluded Le Blanc.