Eight area educators who give back to their profession will be honored today at SUNY Oneonta.

The college’s secondary education department will present awards for exemplary service at the 20th annual Celebration of Teaching reception from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Craven Lounge of the college’s Morris Conference Center.

As part of National Teacher Appreciation Week, the reception also recognizes all area teachers who have contributed their time and expertise to the program, according to a media release. According to secondary education department chairman Dennis Banks, those being recognized were nominated by faculty because they’ve helped the program in a variety of ways, including inviting students into their classrooms or coming to the college as speakers.

“This cooperation is vital. We couldn’t do our job without them. Working with exemplary teachers is the way you learn,” Banks said. To be eligible, a teacher must have a minimum of five years of experience working with the college as a cooperating teacher or college supervisor. The teachers, who serve as role models for SUNY Oneonta students, must demonstrate high standards of knowledge in content and pedagogy, service to the school and community and a love of learning, according to a media release.

Three of the recipients are from Schenevus Central School— and all three are SUNY Oneonta graduates.

Shana L. Ritton teaches middle school mathematics. She has been working with student participatants, who are considering a career as a teacher, for about five years.

“I know their program. If I can lend my classroom to them, I am more than willing,” she said, adding that the recognition makes her feel she’s involved with something worthwhile.

Melissa J. Leonard teaches social studies. She has worked with participators and student-teachers for the past several years.

“I believe in what they are doing” she said. “Somebody helped me get my start, so I am just paying it forward.”

Debra Anderson said her involvement with the department is “part of giving back.” She works with participants and student-teachers.

“It’s part of where you learn to be a teacher. I want to ensure that good professionals come out of it.”

The others being honored are Terri Sherman of Delaware Academy, John Collins of Unatego, Abby Costello of Unatego, Kerrie A. Johnstone of DCMO BOCES and Timothy McKane of Oneonta.

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