Teachers and Educational Services Professionals of the Year

Teachers and Educational Services Professionals of the Year
Photo: Teachers and Educational Services Professionals of the Year.  Heather Lutz (top left), Erica Franceski (top right), Nancy Ricca (bottom left), Lemma Taha (bottom right).

We are pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Teachers and Educational Services Professionals of the year for Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley High Schools!  This year, we recognize Ms. Heather Lutz (Pascack Hills English teacher) and Ms. Nancy Ricca (Pascack Valley Mathematics and Computer Science teacher) as our Teachers of the Year.  Our Educational Services Professionals of the Year are Ms. Erica Franceski (Pascack Hills Student/Family Resource Liaison) and Ms. Lemma Taha (Pascack Valley Counselor, Guidance and Counseling Services).

When recognizing each teacher and professional in their respective classrooms and offices, Superintendent Gundersen shared quotes from students and colleagues who nominated the recipients.  Below, are a few of these quotes, which best describe the character of the recipients, and their impact on our school community.

Photo: Ms. Heather Lutz Ms. Heather Lutz
Pascack Hills English Teacher

"She is the most passionate teacher I have ever had and teaches the best class I have ever taken. She cares so much about her students and the subject that she is teaching which ensures that her class is amazing every single day. I have never learned so much and experienced such understanding of a subject before. Mrs. Lutz is genuinely an angel on earth."  -- Student
Photo: Ms. Nancy Ricca Ms. Nancy Ricca
Pascack Valley Mathematics and Computer Science teacher

"She is an absolutely fantastic computer science and math teacher who is truly passionate about what she does. She gives students work that is meaningful, educational, and helpful. She does so much for the students here at Valley from teaching math to teaching three levels of computer science to staying before and after school for students to having various clubs to enforce and encourage STEM in Valley. Most importantly, she helped me discover my passion for programming, which I now plan to do when I grow up. I could not have asked for a better teacher." -- Student
Photo: Ms. Erica Franceski Ms. Erica Franceski
Pascack Hills Student/Family Resource Liaison 

"Ms. Franceski has always been a tremendous asset to the Hills counseling team. However, since she has taken on the new role of Wellness Counselor, she has been absolutely invaluable to students, teachers, and administrators alike.  Her ability to relate to students while being honest and open with them has had a tremendous impact on this school." -- Colleague

"Throughout the past few years of high school, when school felt too difficult or times got too hard for me, she has been there to help me no matter what." -- Student
Photo: Ms. Lemma Taha Ms. Lemma Taha
Pascack Valley Counselor, Guidance and Counseling Services

"Lemma is an incredibly compassionate guidance counselor. She is always looking out for the best interest of her students and approaches all individuals with a sense of understanding and a want to help them. Lemma is incredibly involved in the school atmosphere. She recently took on the task of being the Yearbook advisor - no small task. Additionally, she is active in Camp Raspberry, dedicating weekend hours to her students and those in the community with special needs. She represents the best of us and is most worthy of recognition." -- Colleague 

We congratulate all of this year's recipients for all of their continued efforts to make our district a special place.

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