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GJSD honors ABCD Award winners

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education and District Administration recently recognized three ABCD Award winners for the second quarter of the 2020-21 school year.

The award winners were: Judy Swatt (special education teacher, Junior-Senior High School), Scott Hale (principal, Junior-Senior High School) and Kimberly Park (second grade teacher, Pleasant Avenue Elementary).

The ABCD Award was born from the Board of Education’s sincere desire to acknowledge employees of the Greater Johnstown School District who go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty to make a difference in the lives of our students and help them succeed.

Any district employee is eligible for the award and nominations can come from anyone in the community – fellow GJSD colleagues, students, parents and community members.

At least two employees are given the award each quarter throughout the school year, with a committee choosing the recipients from the nominations that are turned in.

Swatt, Hale and Park were invited to the Feb. 25 Board of Education meeting (held virtually) where they were publicly acknowledged, thanked by board members and given the opportunity to say a few words about what winning the award meant to them. Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Crankshaw also visited each of the recipients at their respective schools, to present them with a certificate and a commemorative ABCD Award pin.

Hear more about WHY these three phenomenal educators were chosen for an ABCD Award:

∫ JUDY SWATT not only puts her students first in the classroom, she wants them to feel supported when they leave the building, and that kindness and generosity extends outward to the community at large. She has been the driving force at Johnstown Junior-Senior High School in collecting donations of money and food for the local food pantry, and issues weekly reminders and requests to colleagues, rallying many of them to contribute to this worthy cause on a regular basis. While her food pantry efforts initially started as a holiday appeal, Judy extended the process after realizing the great need being experienced by many families in our area. In addition to collecting the food pantry donations, she delivers them herself, sometimes with a little help from her friends at school. The care and concern Ms. Swatt has shown for the well-being of her students, their families and the Johnstown community is a wonderful example of compassion Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.

∫ SCOTT HALE makes learning accessible to all students; he genuinely wants them to succeed and encourages all students to be their best. Mr. Hale also strives to make each and every one of the students at JJSHS feel noticed and important, going out of his way to check in on them and talk with them on a regular basis. In addition, throughout the pandemic, he has worked with a team of educators to plan and implement procedures and safety protocols to ensure that students are able to attend school in person, providing a sense of normalcy during these most unusual of times. He also makes the staff feel appreciated every day and has worked with Mr. Kraemer and the administrative team to facilitate a seamless transition for employees transferring from the Knox Building to Johnstown Junior-Senior High School.  Mr. Hale has demonstrated an amazing ability to stay positive no matter the challenge before him, and goes Above and Beyond the Call of Duty to make a real impact in the lives of those around him.

∫ KIMBERLY PARK has been selected for the ABCD Award because she is a truly compassionate and caring educator who wants to see her students succeed holistically.  She approaches teaching with undying enthusiasm and cheerfulness that seems to affect students, families, and colleagues alike.  Students know that she understands them on a personal level; they believe in her that her encouragement is sincere and trustworthy.  When she notices something that may be a hindrance to a child’s happiness or ability to learn, she inquires, collects information, and makes suggestions for how best to help.  Parents are included in fluid discussions around her students’ learning experience – this has been especially helpful during these times of hybrid learning.  Mrs. Park maintains a warm, centered, and compassionate approach to everyone, and it has been remarked that she operates with an “unbelievable amount of professionalism, patience, and care” with her students.  Her warm smile goes a long way to encourage students who cannot wait to come back for more every day.

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