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Mr. T and Mrs. Gerety Win Altamont's Top Teaching Awards!
Laine Williams

Congrats to Mr. T and Mrs. Gerety for receiving Altamont's top teaching awards!

Mr. Niko Tsivourakis won the 13th annual James C. Barton, Jr. Faculty/Staff Leadership Award, acknowledging a member of the faculty or staff who shows leadership in innovation, community service, and/or advancement of mission.

Mr. T. has been a part of the Altamont community since 2005.He teaches English to 5th and 6th graders but does so much more the community as evidenced by the some of the comments from nominations.

"Mr. T shows innovation through his teaching and speaking. Mr. T shows leadership shows through his teaching. He shows that he wants the mission statement to shine through Altamont."

"Niko's dedication to his students and our school is evident in every endeavor he takes head on. He is passionate, knowledgeable, and always willing to lend a helping hand when needed. He goes above and beyond to give his students the best experience they can have here at Altamont. I feel lucky to work with such a quality colleague!"

"Mr. T has helped me feel safe here at Altamont in my first year. I also like how he makes English fun and I like the jokes that he says."

"He has been an amazing and influential teacher for my 5th and 6th grade years. He has changed my entire outlook on books as a whole and has strengthened my creativity. He interacts with everyone in class on a personal level. I think he is deserving of this award."

"Mr. T has changed the way I approach situations and see the world. Some of what he taught me in 5th and 6th grade is going to stick with me through my journey in life."

"I would like to hands down nominate Mr. T for this award! He has excelled in the mission of Altamont in showing me that he very much cares for my son. I have never seen someone so caring, welcoming and sincere as Mr. T. He showed me in a very quick amount of time that he really paid such close attention to my child--so much that he seemingly and correctly understood and nurtured my child's personality. Not only did he recognize my sons needs but he found a way to use his traits for good intention, good behavior and being proud of who my child is! I was floored by how he took all that our children are and use their traits for greatness!! The way he talks to the kids when I overhear on zoom is utterly outstanding!! He calls them out and encourages them all at the same time. I really do not think that my child has ever had such a great, intuitive, understanding and nurturing teacher has he has had in Mr. T. Thanks so much for your time and thanks for really caring for my child!"

Mrs. Lia Gerety received the Edna Earle Mullins Endowed Teaching Prize, recognizing and encouraging one of the "best and brightest" teachers. Mrs. Gerety has been a member of the Altamont community since 1989. She teaches 5th-6th grade science and is the dean of the Middle School. The following comments are from her nomination entries.

"Lia has been an excellent leader for the 5th-6th grade faculty during the 2020-2021 year. She has supported the administration and brought positive feedback to the 5th-6th grade faculty. Lia has listened to complaints, suggestions, and anything in between with an open mind and respect. She is a well-respected teacher and her students love her."

"For over 30 years, Lia Gerety has been an unsung heroine and mainstay of the school. To list all the hats she has worn at Altamont would be impossible. She is a quiet leader and longtime Middle School dean, respected by all, always setting an example of fairness and integrity. She advances the school's mission by nurturing our youngest students, helping them to become solid Altamont citizens who understand the importance of truth, knowledge and honor and who respect their classmates. Her service on the Honor Court reinforces these ideals. And her science and math classes challenge our students to think independently. She also guides them in community service projects outside the school."

"Lia has always been innovative in her classes but has really done an exceptional job during this difficult pandemic. During the summer of 2020, she worked every day to ensure the schedule would work for the 5th-6th graders grades. She oversaw that COVID protocols were followed from the beginning to the end of each school day. I think she rarely left school much before 5 p.m."

"When the foreign language and arts programs were cut from the schedule for these grades this year, Lia made it possible, after the school year began, for the students to have some in-person exposure to world language nonetheless by introducing a new Wednesday program. Thus, the students could have art class, participate in their annual service projects, and through her innovative change to their schedule, teachers taught cross curricular classes and afforded the 5th-6th graders some world language experience."

"For more than ten years, Lia was the Fall Project Week coordinator, an assignment that no teacher wanted because it was so complicated and thankless. She stayed on campus to receive calls and help her traveling colleagues if they encountered difficulties during their trips. Due to the pandemic this year, all Fall Project Week trips were cancelled. Since her students couldn't travel, Lia innovated by bringing the traditional 5th-6th grade trip to Altamont! She arranged for Camp McDowell to bring the experience to the school for a week in March. Students who had not been to school in person came for the first time to participate in this outdoor adventure and the entire school enjoyed the farm animals."

"I could go on and on about all of Lia's contributions to the school over her tenure there. Probably because she teaches students when they are our youngest Altamonters, alumni may tend to forget her when it is time to nominate for awards. But faculty and middle school parents know what a treasure she is and how deserving she is to receive this recognition."

Congrats to Mr. T and Mrs. Gerety! #altamontproud

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