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Haine Elementary Teacher named finalist for PA Teacher of the Year

Paolo Tolomeo, a fourth-grade teacher at Haine Elementary School, has been named a finalist in the 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year competition as hosted by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year Organization. Mr. Tolomeo is one of only a dozen teachers chosen for finalist recognition and ultimately represents the more 122,000 teachers from across the Commonwealth.P. Tolomeo

Mr. Tolomeo shared that he was pleasantly surprised hearing the news and hopes to use this opportunity to impact others. “I have already worked to create a network with the other teachers who are finalists so we can collaborate and share ideas with each other,” Tolomeo said. “This is going to allow me to further expand my professional learning network. By gaining insights and ideas from them, as well as other teachers around the country, I can bring those ideas to my team to help us grow. Not only that, but I can also take many of the amazing ideas other teachers here are using and share them with others, truly showcasing all we do at Seneca Valley.”

Fellow colleagues in the District, especially Haine Elementary School, are excited for Mr. Tolomeo and noted that he strongly supports the values of public education and contributes daily to improve the lives of children.

“Mr. Tolomeo creates a positive classroom community that is built on trust, inclusion of all diversity and high expectations for both learning and behavior,” said Kristen White, Haine Elementary Principal. “Children in his classroom are encouraged to take risks, in a non-threatening environment, which supports learning, encourages resiliency and reinforces the pillars of mindfulness. Students are expected to work in collaboration throughout the day, and high levels of engagement are simply the norm.”

Mr. Tolomeo, who has been teaching at Seneca Valley for 10 years, will attend a special awards ceremony in December 2019 where the Pennsylvania Department of Education will announce the 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

“Mr. Tolomeo is one of our finest teachers and really understands what student engagement is about,” said Dr. Tracy Vitale, Superintendent of Schools. “He knows his children well and recognizes that teachers must care about the children in their classroom before they can begin to teach subject matter. He is constantly trying to improve his teaching methods with a focus on innovation and creativity. We are very lucky to have Mr. Tolomeo! We wish him the very best as he continues in the selection process.”

Dr. Sean McCarty, Assistant Superintendent for K-6 Instruction, echoed Dr. Vitale’s praise for the continued work and efforts of Mr. Tolomeo. “Over the years, he has created a supportive and engaging classroom environment for countless students,” Dr. McCarty said. “He is the epitome of a student-centered educator.”

According to The National Teacher of the Year website, the awards program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching.