Ryan Suppi, guidance counselor at Sgt. Dominick Pilla Middle School, was the surprise recipient of the Vineland Public Schools’ “Starfish” award on May 22, presented annually to recognize an outstanding counselor from within the Vineland family of counselors.
Also awarded was the Child Study Team Case Manager Award of Excellence, given to Rachel Shaw.
The awards were the highlight of the annual staff development workshop for the district's counselors, held this year at the Landis Administrative Offices.
The ceremony was hosted by Deana Ridolfo, Supervisor of Guidance, Testing, Homeless and School Transitions. Also in attendance were Dr. Mary Gruccio, Superintendent, Nathan Frey, Assistant Superintendent, John Frangipani, Assistant Superintendent, Teri Godlewski, Director of Special Education, and Board of Education member F. John Sbrana.
Dr. Gruccio started the ceremony by thanking the counselors for their hard work and dedication to students throughout the district.
“We are truly grateful for what each and every one of you do for our children every day in our schools,” she said.
Godlewski introduced the recipient of the Child Study Team Case Manager Award of Excellence, Rachel Shaw. She was described as “a tenacious advocate for students and for our district. She works hard to ensure that everyone at the table feels that they are part of the process and that their opinion matters.”
Tammy Monahan, principal of Sgt. Pilla School, announced the Starfish Award recipient, noting that in 31 years of education, she’s never met anyone as dedicated to the students, staff, administration, his family, and the community. Suppi is also in charge of the School Climate Program, which emphasizes positivity and seeks to help people feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe in school while promoting students’ academic and social development.
“The creativity that he demonstrates is beyond ridiculous,” she said. “I continue to be so incredibly impressed with his talents and skills and his ability to bring people together to work as a team.”
The Starfish Award refers to the allegory of a young man picking a starfish from among millions on the beach and returning it to the sea--thereby making a difference at least to the one he saves.
Suppi was chosen from a group of nominees for the award from principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors, and health and social service coordinators. The winner is selected by a committee that includes administrators from each grade level in the schools and district office administrators.
Those nominated for the Starfish award were expected to exemplify the following traits: a love of children, dedication to the profession of counseling, tireless work ethic on behalf of children, creativity, responsiveness to children’s needs above and beyond the call of duty, willingness to try new ideas and strategies, continuous interest in professional development, and a cooperative style of interaction.
Pictured, from left: Tammy Monahan, principal of Sgt. Pilla School; Ryan Suppi, Starfish Award winner; and Deana Ridolfo, Supervisor of Guidance, Testing, Homeless, and School Transitions
Click on the following link for photos from the event:
The event was also filmed by VPS Broadcasting and will air on our television stations - Comcast channel 9 and Verizon channel 41 - at a later date. It is available on our YouTube channel, VLDSchoolsTV, here: