Jo-Ellen Height of Undermountain Elementary School was one of three educators presented with recognition certificates by MCLA Vice President of Academic Affairs Cynthia F. Brown.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Three Berkshire County educators were honored at the fourth annual Berkshire County Educator Recognition Award Ceremony at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on Thursday night.
The awards were presented by MCLA at the Church Street Center in partnership with the Berkshire County K-12 superintendents.
David Hastings, Southern Berkshire Regional School District superintendent, said a few words about the importance of dedicated educators.
"You are the best of the best, and you join tremendous people that have preceded you in earlier years," Hastings said.
The first recipient of the award was Jo-Ellen Height, an integrated special needs pre-kindergarten teacher at Undermountain Elementary School in the Southern Berkshire district.
Height has more than 45 years' experience as a teacher and speech and language therapist. She has received a National Association for Educators of Young children accreditation.
Height said she always imagined herself being a teacher.
"I have been teaching for a very long time, and it has been something I have always wanted to do since junior high school," Height said. "My passion is to help each of my students be the best that they can be regardless of the challenges they face."
The second recipient was Patricia Robie, who teaches fourth grade at Becket-Washington School in the Central Berkshire Regional School District.
She has taught for 15 years and promotes family and community involvement in education. She serves on the Innovation School Planning Board for her school, the School Council, and the Parent-Teacher Organization.
"It seems to be strange to be standing in front of you accepting recognition for something I love to do," Robie said. "I know there are hundreds of other teachers in Berkshire County who do this difficult job every day that could never imagine doing something finer."
The third recipient was Brad Whateley, who teaches mathematics and physics at Pittsfield Regional High School.
Whateley was formerly a physician who made the switch to high school teacher 10 years ago. He is responsible for expanding Advanced Placement physics at PHS and has also created a pre-physics program and an engineering academy.
"I made a career switch, and I couldn't have done it without the educators at Pittsfield High School who helped me make that transition," Whateley said. "I feel like I should be giving an award because I have been the recipient of so many great mentors that were teachers, and it has made my life really good."
MCLA President Mary Grant closed the ceremony by thanking the award recipients.
"It is just such a pleasure to have this time to celebrate your work and recognize your accomplishments," Grant said.