Hundreds of Coventry teachers and administrators gathered in the auditorium on Monday morning to kick off the start of the 2012-2013 school year. Superintendent Michael Convery began the assembly by announcing the district's new hires and asking teachers to share any positive news from their summer breaks.
2011-2012 Coventry and Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, then spoke of her and shared a slideshow as well as a list of 10 lessons that she learned during her travels.
Convery announced teacher Tara D'Aleno as Teacher of the Year to thunderous applause and Lima Boyle presented her with an inscribed golden apple.
"This Coventry teacher has been described in many ways including talented, intelligent, outstanding, creative and unique. A natural leader, dedicated to excellence as an educator," said Convery when describing D'Aleno. "She has been a role model for peers providing teachers with support and guidance and always communicating information on a regular and consistent basis."
A shocked and grateful D'Aleno said that she was unaware that she was up for the honor until her name was announced.
"It means so much that my colleagues, administrators and especially students wrote letters on my behalf," she said. "That means everything to me."
D'Aleno explained that as a young child, her father, a high school teacher, inspired her to desire to teach. 21 years later, she is still doing what she loves, having taught in the past at , and for the past 16 years where she currently teaches third grade.
"I always saw my dad working very very hard and I wanted to be like him."
D'Aleno said that her biggest goal is to inspire students to be their best and work hard during her time as Coventry Teacher of the Year.
"I think I'm going to work as hard as I always have worked because I love seeing the progress they make from September to June," she said. "That inspires me the most."
In order to become a Teacher of the Year, D'Aleno explained that patience, kindness and flexibility in thinking are the most important attributes that a teacher can possess.
"I would say that you have to work really hard, think about the students first and give 100 percent of yourself every day," she said when asked what her advice to a new teacher would be.
In addition to her superior teaching and student interaction skills, D'Aleno has been involved in many school and district initiatives including Curriculum Council and Race to the Top Dana Center training. She is also a member of the district-wide teacher evaluation team, ELA Common Core team, and has been math team leader at Tiogue for the last eight years. She also finds time to organize holiday baskets for local families and to actively participate in food and clothing drives as well as her school PTA.
"This is so well-deserved," said Tiogue Principal Louise Seitsinger, "I'm so so happy for her."
"In my opinion one of the finest characteristics about this teacher is her ability to empower students to become individuals with the necessary critical thinking skills to be successful in life," said Superintendent Convery. "This honor is long overdue. She truly represents the best of the best in Coventry."