Sayreville school officials honor educational support professionals

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SAYREVILLE – During a school year affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Governor’s Educational Support Services Professionals (ESP) of the Year for the Sayreville School District have been named.

The ESPs of the Year for the 2019-20 school year were recognized during a presentation at a recent Board of Education meeting.

At the Emma Arleth Elementary School, the ESP of the Year is Tara Giarraffa.

“Ms. Giarraffa provides occupational therapy to many of our most disabled students and goes above and beyond to help these children become as independent as possible,” district administrators said. “She is one of those rare individuals who gives her all and it comes from the heart. Teachers in the building love working with Ms. Giarraffa because she is always willing to help them to help their students.”

At the Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School, the ESP of the Year is Meg Cardillo.

“Mrs. Cardillo is an integral part of Eisenhower Elementary School and the community it serves,” district administrators said. “She instills a love of reading and books in our students and provides valuable resources to our staff. Mrs. Cardillo demonstrates leadership that improves the climate and culture within the school. She takes the time to get to know all 500 of her students and works to make connections, especially with those students who need it most. Her dedication to her profession and school has had a great impact on the students and staff she works with and alongside.”

At the Harry S. Truman and Woodrow Wilson Elementary Schools, the ESP of the Year is Laura Mihalenko.

“Mrs. Mihalenko is the Gifted & Talented teacher for our four elementary schools,” district administrators said. “She has presented countless workshops for her colleagues and makes a substantial contribution to each school’s environment. She is innovative, knowledgeable, helpful, respected and admired by students, teachers and parents.”

At Samsel Upper Elementary School, the ESP of the Year is Michelle DiPaolo.

“Mrs. DiPaolo is a valuable resource to the staff,” district administrators said. “She is instrumental in running the RTI [Response to Intervention] Committee and assisting teachers with RTI directly and our online math programs. She works to meet the needs of diverse learners and provides opportunities for students’ self-reflection. We are fortunate to have such a talented and devoted educator at the Samsel Upper Elementary School.”

At the Sayreville Middle School, the ESP of the Year is Lori Dobrzynski.

“Year after year, Mrs. Dobrzynski provides our students with resources and outstanding knowledge through formal instruction, as well as research-based guidance,” district administrators said. “She holds media center-based lectures and interactive lessons daily and acts as an essential support for teaching staff. Mrs. Dobrzynski is an amazing media specialist, but moreover, an amazing person.”

At Sayreville War Memorial High School, the ESP of the Year is Kaila O’Donnell.

“Ms. O’Donnell is a well-respected member, not only of the guidance department, but the entire high school,” district administrators said. “She has developed an outstanding rapport with the students and faculty and many seek her out for advice, assistance and direction. She is dedicated and committed to her students and her positive interactions with them reflect a high degree of comfort and trust in their relationship. Ms. O’Donnell is an exceptional school counselor and, without a doubt, deserves to be Sayreville War Memorial High School’s ESP of the Year.”