When one walked into the Upper Perkiomen School Board meeting on November 8, there was barely a seat to be found, and hardly any room to walk. Along with being physically filled, the room was also bursting with animated conversations and enthusiastic greetings.
The packed room and smiling faces were, without a doubt, a testament to the impact of the five individuals that were being honored that evening with the district’s Distinguished Service Award.
Distinguished Service Award honorees are chosen by a committee, which generally considers retired recipients from each of the district’s four schools and the Education Center every year. Recipients are chosen based on the following criteria:
- Representative of district staff
- Dedication above and beyond job requirements
- Extraordinary service to district
- Service to larger community
- Brought recognition to the district
- Recipient of state/national recognition
Honorees are recognized during American Education Week and at the November School Board meeting with a poster display, a presentation of student art work and a brass plate being added to each building’s pedestal. Students artists design artwork based on an individual honoree’s interests.
At the School Board meeting, Dr. Alexis McGloin, Superintendent of Schools, gave a brief overview of the Distinguished Service Award, then introduced each honoree, asked the honoree’s student artist to present them with their artwork and then each honoree had a chance to deliver a few remarks.
“This is one of my favorite events every year,” said McGloin. “I know that the Distinguished Service Committee takes their job very seriously, and I’m so glad that they do, because I’m grateful to have the opportunity to honor these individuals who have contributed so much to the Upper Perkiomen School District.”
Find out more about the 2018 UPSD Distinguished Service Award recipients below, along with photos of each recipient with their student artist.
Ellen Long – Hereford Elementary
Student Artist – Lucas Hoch, Grade 5
Ellen earned her Bachelor’s degree from Kutztown State College where she also received her Masters of Education. She began her career at Red Hill Elementary School teaching second grade for three years, and then moved to the “new” Hereford school addition where she taught second grade for another seven years before teaching fourth grade for thirty years.
While at Upper Perk, Ellen was a member of the negotiations team, math and language arts curriculum committees and served as a UPEA building representative, grade level representative, social committee member, elementary liaison and member of the summer reading program. She was also pivotal in starting the Novel Reading Program, New Teacher Induction Program and the facilitation of cooperative learning workshops. Her service did not go unrecognized, as Ellen was the recipient of the Outstanding Young Educator Award by the Jaycees and served on the PA Department of Education State Induction Program. She is also a member of the National Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, the Lehigh University Chapter.
Ellen has many fond memories of great students, families, co-workers and the recognition as a Blue Ribbon School with their trip to Washington D.C. Since her retirement in 2012, she enjoys spending time at home, traveling with her husband and their group of friends, and spending time helping her ninety-five year old mother who lives in her own home. Ellen feels truly blessed to have had a wonderful career as a teacher.
Dianne Hobson – Marlborough Elementary
Student Artist – Madison Wheeler, Grade 5
Dianne received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Millersville State College and her Masters of Education from Kutztown University. She began her career as a substitute and taught third grade remediation classes trough the TELLS program. She then taught fourth grade at Hereford Elementary, Red Hill Elementary and Marlborough Elementary until retiring in 2008. Dianne continued to substitute for the district seven more years after she retired.
Dianne served as a grade level representative for fourth grade on the math and social studies curriculum committees as well as report card revision committee. She was involved with Marlborough’s Relay for Life, was a chairperson for the Marlborough social committee and also a key member of the Blue Ribbon School committee. Dianne and colleague Alma Bufkin helped to initiate the annual fourth grade trip to Harrisburg, which continues to be a tradition for the fourth grade class.
When asked to describe her fondest memory, it was when the staff and students participated in a special assembly to commemorate the closing of Red Hill Elementary, and the excitement of moving into the brand new Marlborough Elementary. She also felt the dedication of the new building and becoming a National Blue Ribbon School were highlights. Since her retirement, if she is not busy babysitting her three granddaughters, she is volunteering her time in three school districts. She has enjoyed family trips to Ocean City, Disney World, Alaska and California, as well as visiting national parks. Dianne has also had the pleasure of visiting several European countries and experiencing their cultures.
Julie Weller – Upper Perkiomen Middle School
Student Artist – Legacy Vazquez, Grade 8
Julie received her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Kutztown State College. When she started teaching at Upper Perk she taught sixth grade social studies on a team of four teachers in the “open space” Middle School.
Julie was a facilitator for School Board meetings, tutored fifth grade students in reading after school, coordinated the district awards dinners and was on curriculum revision and the Middle School Blue Ribbon Award committees. Julie played a vital role as the operator the stage and sound system in the Middle School auditorium during special events, assemblies or drama performances. Julie ensure that the show went on, she also extended her knowledge of sound, light and stage management to 20 to 30 students per year who assisted her in making these magical productions.
During her time here at Upper Perk, Julie loved working with middle school students because of their developing interest, curiousness and imagination. In 2008, Julie retired after 36 years of teaching, but that did not end her commitment to supporting students. In her retirement, Julie continues to spend many hours tutoring and providing childcare for children.
She and her partner enjoy traveling, music, food and sports. Julie is thankful that she was part of a career that she enjoyed every day, teaching kids.
David McCaig – Upper Perkiomen High School
Student Artist – Hope Huffman, Grade 12
Dave earned his Bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University, Master’s degree from Villanova University and completed coursework at Temple towards his PhD. Dave spent 36 years at Upper Perk teaching ninth and tenth grade gifted students.
During those 36 years at Upper Perk, Dave devoted his time to enhancing the academic program through his work as the English curriculum coordinator, a curriculum assistant, NHS faculty committee member and through professional improvement programs. His work also extended beyond the classroom, where Dave served as the school newspaper and literary magazine coordinator, spring track timer and as the vice-president, president and chief negotiator for the UPEA.
Dave remembers the great students and many parents during his time at Upper Perk. He remembers working with some truly great and inspirational professional colleagues, administrators and school board members. Since retiring in 2008, he continues to teach part-time, travels, likes spending time with his children, reading, gardening and supporting his wife who is a full-time nurse.
Beth P. Williams – Education Center
[Awarded posthumously to Beth’s husband, Greg]
Student Artist – Emily Caciolo, Hereford, Grade 5
Beth is remembered as a devoted educator and well-respected member of the Upper Perkiomen School District community. Beth earned her Bachelor’s in Education from Cedar Crest College, followed by a Masters of Education in Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology from Temple University. Beth earned a Doctoral Degree from Immaculata University in 2012.
Beth’s educational journey began as an English teacher in the Boyertown School District. From Boyertown, Beth joined the Upper Perkiomen School District as an Assistant Principal at Upper Perkiomen High School in 2007. Beth’s knowledge and passion of teaching became quickly evident to those around her, which led to her transition, in 2008, to the districts very first Director of Teaching and Learning. Although Beth only worked at Upper Perk for a short time before passing away in 2012, she was well known for her professionalism and dedication to the students, parents and her job.