2021-2022 Teacher and Educational Services Professionals of The Year

2021-2022 Teacher and ESPs of The Year
Photo: 21-22 Teacher and ESPs of The Year

We are pleased to announce the 2021-2022 Teachers and Educational Services Professionals of the year for Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley High Schools!  This year, we recognize Dorely Leal- Drago (Pascack Valley World Language (Spanish) Teacher) and James Soltmann (Pascack Hills Science Teacher) as our Teachers of the Year. Our Educational Services Professionals of the Year are Diane Fallon (Pascack Valley Nurse) and Brittany Punim (Pascack Hills School Psychologist).

When recognizing each teacher and professional in their respective classrooms and offices, Interim Superintendent Fishbein 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.

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

Ms. Dorely Leal-Drago
Pascack Valley World Language (Spanish) Teacher

Photo: Teacher of the Year
Photo: Ms. Dorely Leal-Drago

"Dorely has a heart of gold. She goes out of her way to help our students and parents; she is understanding, flexible, and extremely supportive of their needs. She also provides translation services for our IEP meetings and anytime we need to contact parents who speak Spanish; she will take diligent notes to ensure she is relaying accurate details, and she offers her assistance to parents then after to ensure that students are meeting with success. She is a kind soul who beams with enthusiasm and compassion! She is a pleasure to work with!"


Mr. James Soltmann
Pascack Hills Science Teacher

Photo: Teacher of The Year
Photo: Mr. James Soltmann

"Mr. Soltmann truly cares about what he does both in and out of the classroom. His students appreciate that he makes learning accessible, fun and enjoyable to learn. He is an amazing coach who knows how to empower and bring out the best in his players."

"You can find Jim in different facets in the school from being a coach, to being an advisor to Camp Raspberry, to being a dedicated teacher. Jim has gone above and beyond to let his students know that they are valued, that they are capable, and that there is always an opportunity for growth, and he does it with such fierce compassion!"


Ms. Diane Fallon
Pascack Valley School Nurse

  
Photo (left-to-right): Ms. Christine Pollinger, Dr. Daniel Fishbein, Ms. Diane Fallon, Mr. John Puccio, Mr. Tom Gallione

"Diane has been an outstanding person to lead us through this pandemic. Her patience and understanding in handling everything that has been thrown at her has been nothing short of amazing.”

"[She] has so much on her plate with Covid and keeping the students safe and handles [it] with grace. She has a lot to do everyday and it is overlooked. I feel she should get recognized."


Ms. Brittany Punim
Pascack Hills School Psychologist

  
Photo (left-to-right): Dr. Barry Bachenheimer, Ms. Eva Merk, Mr. Timothy Wieland, Ms. Brittany Punim, Ms. Charlene Schwartzman, Dr. Daniel Fishbein

"I've never worked with someone as selflessly and wholeheartedly committed to her students as Mrs. Punim. Mrs. Punim goes FAR above and beyond in her role as the School Psychologist. She provides endless support to the students whom she case-manages and counsels. In times that she cannot provide the support firsthand, she races to find the person who can provide it to her students. She is a true collaborator, in that she fosters a team approach and communication between students, teachers, and parents. The PH school community emphasizes the importance of relationships made with students, and Mrs. Punim does that seamlessly. Her students know her as an advocate, their biggest fan and believer in them but also as a counselor guiding how to problem-solve and cope through the challenges of high school life. So much of what Mrs. Punim does may be behind closed doors, but I continue to marvel at dedication, which she treats well beyond a profession. Mrs. Punim is very deserving of this recognition!"


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