CASDA Honors Capital Region Friends of Education During First Annual Dinner

March 15, 2017

CASDA hosted its first Annual Friends of Education Awards Dinner on February 16 at the Albany Renaissance Hotel in order to recognize the selfless contributions of individuals who dedicate themselves to serving students and the school community.


This year’s honorees represented twenty-three educators and community leaders from nineteen school districts throughout the Capital Region and beyond. Those recognized hailed from large urban and suburban districts such as Albany and Shenedehowa to small rural communities like Newcomb and Long Lake, proving that it truly takes a village to raise a child. The individuals honored during the dinner included a variety of school community members including local business leaders, volunteers, classroom teachers, school board members, school directors and school support staff.


“It was an honor to be able to recognize so many outstanding individuals who would otherwise go unrecognized for their dedication to our school communities and their commitment to education’s highest ideals and values,” said CASDA Executive Director Dr. James Butterworth. “This year’s dinner was truly a celebration of the hard work, generosity and dedication of the educators and school community members whose tireless work as Friends of Education has galvanized their schools and enriched the lives of students.”


CASDA first introduced the Friends of Education award during its Annual Capital Region Education Awards Dinner in 2014 to celebrate the diverse contributions to student success that come from all corners of school communities. However, with overwhelming participation from area superintendents who used this opportunity to recognize deserving members of their school community, the number of “Friends of Education” awards grew to the point where it became necessary to hold a separate “Friends of Education Dinner” to permit more worthy individuals in our school communities to be celebrated.


Next year’s awards dinner will take place on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at the Albany Renaissance Hotel. We hope you will consider recognizing an outstanding individual in your school community to be recognized as a 2018 Friend of Education.


This year’s Friends of Education recipients included:


Michael Castellana, City School District of Albany

Ladan Alomar, Greater Amsterdam School District

Beverly Greco, Greater Amsterdam School District

Linda Sawicki, Greater Amsterdam School District

Melanie Persons, Bolton Central School District

Sandra Sullivan, Broadalbin-Perth Central School District

Carolyn Kelly, Diocese of Albany Catholic Schools

Alex Demarco, East Greenbush Central School District

Wayne Pratt, East Greenbush Central School District

David Rockwell, Edinburg Common School District

Melanie Capron, Fonda Fultonville Central School District

Donna Sowle, Galway Central School District

Cliff Nooney, Guilderland Central School District

Dan and Mary Vdell, Hudson City School District

Kami Farr, Long Lake Central School District

Scott Losee, Menands School District

Don Mannion, Menands School District

Paul Hai, Newcomb Central School

Peggy Angus, Northville Central School District

Patrick Farry, Schalmont Central School District

Allison Atchley, Scotia Glenville Central School District

Beth Miles, Shenendehowa Central Schools

Bill Sheehy, Watervliet City School District

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