Plymouth honors school staff

Published on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 20:24


PLYMOUTH - Two years ago, the Board of Education created the 212 Awards to honor outstanding members of the faculty and staff.

The idea behind the name is “water does not boil at 211 degrees, it’s just really hot, but at 212 degrees it’s just that one little extra degree that makes water boil,” explained Superintendent Martin Semmel. “There are people in this district that give that extra degree, that extra effort, that really has a significant impact on our schools.”

This year’s winners are Marc Coer, a member of the Eli Terry Jr. Middle School custodial staff; Judy Cumiskey, librarian at Fisher Elementary School; David Morrell, special education teacher at Plymouth Center School; and Vicki Rees, special education teacher at Fisher.

Phillip Penn, district business manager, shared some of the praise for Coer from the nomination forms.

“Marc consistently goes above and beyond in our school. He somehow seems to be in all places at all times. He takes pride in ownership in what he considers to be his building. He is concerned with the success of our students at Eli Terry. He knows every piece of equipment in the building and is the first person we call when we have something new that we can’t figure out how to put together,” Penn read.

“Marc, you represent everything that we look for in this award,” Penn added. “Constantly going that extra degree makes all the difference.”

Jennifer Parsons, director of curriculum and instruction, said Cumiskey is a retired teacher who formerly was a writing coach at Fisher but who is “probably working harder than ever.”

“Judy received a whopping eight nominations from the teachers at Fisher Elementary School. Her colleagues praised her for her work with students and staff alike,” Parsons said.

Cumiskey has transformed part of the library into a 3D printer “maker space,” Parsons explained. “The fourth-grade team shared that the new maker space encourages innovation, creation, and collaboration among the students. They come into the library not only to read but to complete hands-on activities that incorporate reading, writing, science, and creative arts.”

Semmel described Morrell as “one of a kind.”

Plymouth Center Principal Chrystal Collins wrote that “‘Over the years he has provided incredible individualized support to students from pre-K to grade five,’” Semmel read. “She goes on to say ‘his contribution to our school is immeasurable, his calm demeanor in the most trying of moments inspires all of us to be better people.’”

Barbara Trinks, director of pupil personnel and special education, explained that Rees is the teacher in the APPLE (A Primary Program of Learning Experience) program at Fisher, which is designed for individual students with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis or other disabilities.

“One of the people who nominated Vicki said ‘she has transformed this challenging and demanding setting into a learning environment filled with individuality, creativity, and organization,’” Trinks read. “‘Every student in the room is supported and challenged with the daily routine that brings out the best of his or her unique self, resulting in a positive atmosphere where learning, praise and support are the norm.’”

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News, General News, Plymouth, Terryville on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 20:24. Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2017 20:26.