SAYREVILLE – As they prepare to retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year, two longtime teachers in the Sayreville School District are remembered for their service.
During a meeting on March 2, the Board of Education recognized the retirements of Lori McLafferty, a second grade teacher at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School, and Cecelia Russo, a special education teacher at the Sayreville War Memorial High School (SWMHS).
Both retirements will become effective on July 1, the first day of the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
According to Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe, McLafferty joined the district in 1995 at Eisenhower and has since remained at the school.
“Over the next 25 years, Lori would touch generations of Eisenhower students and their families during this time,” Labbe said. “Her devotion to her students, colleagues and her profession would be on full display each and every day. Lori’s excellence was recognized by her peers when she was named the Eisenhower Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 2011.
“Lori has spent countless hours supporting new staff as the mentor coordinator and has worked tirelessly on school-wide events, like Eisenhower’s 50th anniversary, along with Veterans Day and the Jeans for Troops Initiative,” he continued. “Lori’s commitment to the Sayreville community represents the best of who we are all as educators. She will be truly missed.”
Russo, according to Labbe, has been a special education teacher at SWMHS since 2016.
“In this role she has been asked to serve as our students in a variety of settings throughout the special education continuum and across several different content areas,” the superintendent said. “To this end, Miss Russo’s support of nature, passion and expertise made her extremely versatile, showing professional competency in the areas of targeted reading instruction and Spanish language support.
“In addition, Miss Russo emerged as a technological leader within the Special Education Department, quickly mastering such district initiatives as Encore Systems, PowerSchool Google Platform and Frontline IEP,” Labbe continued. “She did this well before hybrid learning made these platforms necessary. In fact, Miss Russo has been the go-to person for help in setting up or troubleshooting our technology platforms for many years. She has presented to fellow staff members during staff development day on these initiatives.
“Over the years, Miss Russo also served on many committees, including professional development, the district evaluation advisory council and on the district technology committee. Miss Russo should further be recognized for her commitment to the art of instruction. She is research-based, always infusing the most recent methodology into her teaching. In fact, Miss Russo set out to teach herself Spanish as a second language and within one year, became a much requested co-teacher by her colleagues for the in-class resource center setting.
“She is a consistent resource to the department and students taking on positions, such as literacy academy teacher and supplemental support, which go beyond the school day hours. Miss Russo, as you can see will be sorely missed by many, but we wish her all the best in all future endeavors,” he said.