Mid-Hudson School Study Council Awards Ulster BOCES Professionals for Excellence in Education

Mid-Hudson School Study Council Awards Ulster BOCES Professionals for Excellence in Education

Two Ulster BOCES professionals will be honored by the Mid-Hudson School Study Council (MHSSC) for their remarkable contributions to education. Director of Facilities Victor DeStefano will receive the award for Excellence in Administration, and the Award for Excellence for Support Staff will be presented to Administrative Secretary Sharon Schofield.

“We are incredibly grateful to these individuals for all that they have done and continue to do for Ulster BOCES,” said Ulster BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Jonah Schenker.

DeStefano began his career as a custodial worker in 1990, advancing to roles as maintenance lead and building maintenance supervisor before assuming his current position. According to Schenker, “Vic DeStefano has not only handled the hard work with care, but has done it with a smile for 33 years. He handles the day-to-day and long-term operations of the BOCES facilities. Due to his leadership, the buildings are always ready for staff and the students to arrive each morning.”

DeStefano’s responsibilities are unique among school districts because, as Ulster BOCES Executive Secretary and Board Clerk Roxanne Babcock points out, “Unlike many schools, Ulster BOCES is geographically dispersed and has many departments that operate 12 months a year, 24 hours a day. This responsibility often requires work that is on an ‘emergency’ status, unscheduled, and frequently interferes with family and personal time.”

Assistant Superintendent for Administration Amanda Stokes has worked with DeStefano for the past 17 years and greatly values his leadership in addition to his knowledge of systems and building maintenance. Stokes remarked, “Among Mr. DeStefano’s most notable qualities are his exceptional interpersonal skills. He has an innate ability to motivate his team, instilling a sense of pride and ownership in their work.”

Schofield, the Administrative Secretary in the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Special Education, will receive the Excellence for Support Staff Award. During her 32 years of dedicated service, she has supported the various administrators in the Special Education Program. Schofield is known for her historian-like memory and is considered one of the most knowledgeable members of the Special Education team. Schenker recalled, “During my time as principal of the Center for Special & Alternative Education, I was able to see firsthand the dedication and expertise Sharon brings to work each day.”

Schofield’s experience and knowledge, combined with her calm demeanor,  patience, and willingness to help others make her a huge asset to Ulster BOCES. “Sharon has the remarkable ability to navigate detailed work that is necessary in our student-based programs, and maintains exceptional standards for confidentiality and consistency,” says Assistant Superintendent for Special Education & Pupil Personnel Services Jillaine Berardi.

Babcock, who has worked with Schofield for much of her tenure, describes her as one of the most pleasant people she knows and someone with outstanding attention to detail. “When data and information is submitted by Sharon, you can be sure it will be correct and complete.”

DeStefano and Schofield, along with other MHSSC Awards For Excellence recipients from the region, will be honored at a dinner on November 1, at The Barn at Villa Venezia in Middletown.

The MHSSC is a non-profit organization whose fundamental purpose is to bring about the improvement of education in its member school districts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. It accomplishes that purpose through the cooperative study of common educational problems, the effective diffusion of educational practices, and the stimulation of active participation of school boards, administrators, teachers, pupils, and laypersons in educational planning and activity.

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