2019 Founders’ Day Award Winners

The Parent Teacher Student Associations at each school are proud to present the 2019 winners of the Founders’ Day Awards! Each day during Founders’ Week (Feb. 4—8, 2019), we’ll reveal another committed parent volunteer and/or staff member from each school.

Each honoree has been selected to recognize his or her service and dedication to go above and beyond for the students of Glens Falls City Schools.

Middle School: Juliana Ogden, Joe Pezzulo, and William Osborn

woman smiling in classroomThe Middle School PTSA is pleased to honor Juliana Ogden, Grade 8 Social Studies Teacher, Joe Pezzulo, Hall Monitor, and Bill Osborn, Founder/President of The Ben Osborn Fund as Founders Day award-winners.

“Mrs. Ogden is the true Queen of our school,” says PTSA president Christina Colonna-Frederick. Her students love her, and love learning about history from her. Mrs. Ogden’s classroom is colorful and inviting. She is a storyteller and tries to make history as relevant and exciting to students as possible. She also coaches the Girls’ Modified Soccer team and is the Student Government advisor. Mrs. Ogden is always there for her students no matter what their needs are. If they’re having a problem, or simply enduring a hard day, she is there for them. “If you didn’t like history before having Mrs. Ogden as your teacher, when you leave her class you will end up loving it!”

man smiling in hallwayHall Monitor Joe Pezzulo’s colleagues note that students and staff alike are captivated by his engaging and positive attitude. He knows every student in the building and has a magic ability to give them attention and encouragement when they need it. He can get a student to laugh and sometimes groan at his jokes. He volunteers at all the events and is willing to pitch in when needed. Mr. P also serves as an umpire/referee for many youth sports. Often he will attend games on his own time just to see the kids play. He works hard to assist students who entrust him with a problem or situation, looking to be pointed to the right person to help them. He has relationships with students that last even throughout their high school years. Mr. P has said in the past, “I often feel like I have hundreds of grandkids…and I love it!” He is a true asset to our Middle School!

man and woman smilingGFMS choose Bill Osborn for the Founder’s Day Award as a way to thank him for his dedication and commitment to helping our students by “giving kids a little lift.” Mr. Osborn started the Ben Osborn Memorial Fund to honor his son CPL Ben Osborn who was killed in action in Kunar, Afghanistan in June of 2010. His work provides generous services to our students, such as eyeglasses, Christmas gifts, school supplies, tutoring, clothing, field trip admission expenses, musical instruments and lessons, scholarships, and many other items. Mr. Osborn is a man of true genuine character and is always looking to find more ways to help. “I heard Mr. Osborn describe his son as a gentle, giving person who had a passion for helping others,” says nurse Margaret Sawyer. “These were the exact words I used to describe Bill when I first nominated him for this recognition. His work inspires us all to give a little more. Mr. Osborn, thank you for all the work you do to keep Ben’s generous spirit alive and thank you for helping our kids.”

High School: Karen Mars

art teacher smiling in classroomThe High School PTSA has chosen art teacher Karen Mars as this year’s Founders’ Day honoree. Mrs. Mars has been an art teacher at Glens Falls High School for more than two decades and has impacted the lives of thousands of students throughout her career. She is a devoted teacher who works well with students of all abilities. Her pottery studio is a welcoming learning environment where students are willing to take risks and are active participants.

According to Mrs. Mars’ students, she provides guidance but they like that they are “able to be creative” in their approach to their work. The students enjoy the challenge of problem-solving when there is an obstacle to completing their work. Mrs. Mars “offers suggestions but tries not to take over the project.” The skills students learn in Mrs. Mars’ room transfer to other classes, as well as to other areas of students’ lives.

“As the principal of the building, I have seen a shift in Mrs. Mars’ enthusiasm for teaching and learning,” says Tammy Silvernell. “Mrs. Mars has taken a much more facilitative approach in her classroom and this change has put students at the center of their own learning. That type of environment fosters students’ creativity and encourages them to invest in their education and take ownership of their learning.”

Big Cross: Bristie Foye and Sheri Francato

woman smiling in libraryThe Big Cross PTA is pleased to honor parent volunteers Bristie Foye and Sheri Francato with the 2019 Founders Day award.

Bristie has been an active member of our PTA for the past five years and has served as President for two of those. She chairs many events throughout the year, including the “Snack in A Pack” program. For two years she organized this crucial program so that students are provided snacks over weekends and breaks. Most Fridays you could see her delivering the bags to classrooms with a smile on her face! She also chairs the “Holiday Shopping” event where students are able to purchase holiday gifts for their family members. She helps the students shop and wrap up the items–they love it! Bristie has also volunteered to help build our new fitness playground, work at the Spring Fair and Harvest Dance, and has always been willing to support our students. She was also the person behind our new water bottle filling stations.

woman smiling in elementary schoolSheri has also been a wonderful parent volunteer for Big Cross, as a member of the PTA for more than 10 years. Sheri has been the leader of our Harvest Dance raffle baskets. She goes above and beyond to make the event a wonderful experience. Sheri has also volunteered to help with our “Snack in a Pack” program and at a variety of events. She is constantly volunteering her time for BC students. Sheri has always been a “go to” member who could help with any event we have. Both ladies are such kind and giving people that are always willing to help out the kids of Big Cross. Thank you for all that have done and continue to do!

Kensington: Kelly Stevens and John O’Brien

John O'Brien smiling at awards breakfastThe Kensington Road School PTA would like to congratulate John O’Brien and Kelly Stevens as recipients of this year’s Founders’ Day PTA Award. 

John O’Brien is a local business owner, husband, father, grandfather and the founder of O’Brien’s Angels, a Facebook page dedicated to those in need—from people looking for local advice, to getting their car started on a cold winter day, to items that their family desperately needs. John is continuously donating, or making available, food items for hungry students, and has assisted over the years in providing the “right” needed item to bring a heightened sense of well-being and comfort to several of our students.  John has donated so much to those in need—coats for children, gifts for the Giving Tree, and anything else that is needed at KRS.  John is loved and admired by not only his family, but everyone in the Kensington Road School Community.

Kelly Stevens smiling with autism awareness shirt onKelly Stevens is a KRS parent, employee and our PTA President.  In addition to this, Kelly also works with John through O’Brien’s Angels. Together they work as a team to provide not only snacks for hungry students at KRS but to hundreds of children in Warren and Washington Counties.  Kelly attends most PTA events, and is always willing to lend a helping hand at school.  She organizes fundraisers, and manages the local St. Baldrick’s benefit each March.  She coordinates the KRS Giving Tree each year, and is constantly sharing positive information about our school to the community.  Currently, Kelly is spearheading an initiative to add new sidewalks to our city streets to keep our students safe, and is always ready to organize meal trains for families at a moment’s notice.  She is selfless and giving, and an inspiration to KRS.

Jackson Heights: Lisa Eggleston

teacher smiling outside

The Jackson Heights Elementary PTA has chosen Building Aide Lisa Eggleston as this year’s Founders Day honoree.

“She is Jackson Heights’ Go-To-Girl!” says Principal Carrie Mauro.  “Lisa is beyond dependable, reliable, and does anything to help Jackson Heights out,” Ms. Mauro continues. “She always goes above and beyond to help students, teachers, and other staff members with the day to day flow.  She is friendly and respectful to others. Lisa makes a real difference here at Jackson Heights and we LOVE her.”