The Seaford American Legion honored four teachers at its annual awards night for their dedication to the students of the district.
The honorees on April 20 were Mike Spreckels of the Seaford Harbor School, Lori LoPiano of the Manor School, Joanne Python from the middle school and Suzanne Cosenza from the high school.
Spreckels is a phys. ed. teacher and also serves as the athletic trainer for Seaford’s sports teams. He started at the Harbor School as a substitute in 2003 before landing a permanent teaching job the following year.
“Mike is held in high esteem by his students, elementary through high school, co-workers and administrators,” said Principal Donna DeLucia-Troisi, who described him as a “well-rounded, highly effective teacher” as well as a team player and a warm person.
Spreckels, who was joined at the ceremony by his wife and three children, holds a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and a master’s from Hofstra University. He is also the head trainer for the Long Island Lizards lacrosse team.
LoPiano has taught at the Manor School for 10 years. She holds her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Hofstra University.
“She loves the Manor School and Seaford community,” said Principal Debra Emmerich. “Mrs. LoPiano is an inspiration to her students, parents and colleagues. She will do anything you ask of her with a positive attitude. She is always looking to better our school.”
LoPiano said that she loves coming to work every day, and her students motivate her to be a better teacher. She also described her co-workers as a second family.
Python is retiring from the middle school in June. She has totaled 49 years in the district as both a student and a teacher, with her time at SUNY Geneseo in between.
As a student, she attended the Seaford Avenue, Harbor and Manor schools before moving on the to the junior high and high schools. As a teacher, she taught at all but the Harbor School, and has been at the middle school since 1996 as a special education teacher.
“She makes the people around her even better,” said Principal Daniel Smith, who described her as an engaging and dynamic teacher. “She loves what she does. She’s the teacher we all aspire to be.”
Cosenza, a guidance counselor at the high school for 16 years, pushes her students to their greatest potential, said Principal Scott Bersin.
Bersin described Cosenza as consistent. She gives the same amount of time and energy to each student, he explained, and is consistent in the guidance she provides. He also said she is a fierce advocate for her students, even if it means disagreeing with a teacher in the school.
Cosenza said she is grateful for all the meaningful relationships she has built over the years with students and parents, and was thankful for the honor from American Legion Post 1132.
The Legion also honored DeLucia-Troisi, who is retiring at the end of the year. She started in the district in 2000 as the Harbor School’s assistant principal.
“Being a principal is by no means an easy task, especially during these interesting times in education,” said Assistant Superintendent John Striffolino. “After 33 years in education, Donna’s face still lights up when she is working with children.”
DeLucia-Troisi stressed that as she reflected on a career that will come to a close next month. “Every day,” she said, “the best part of my day is seeing the children.”