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Mrs. Linda Romano, 2018 ACTE National Teacher of the Year (Full coverage)


The Association of Career and Technical Education awarded Ms. Linda Romano, teacher at Newburgh Free Academy, North Campus, 2018 ACTE National Teacher of the Year award this week. A press conference was held on Monday, December 11th at 9:00am at NFA North. 

According to ACTE, this award recognizes the finest career and technical education teachers at the middle/secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities.

Ms. Romano is a teacher at NFA North’s Certified Nursing Assistant Program. As a result of this program, students graduate from NFA North with a high school diploma and are able to sit for the Certified Nursing Assistant Exam. Thanks to Ms. Romano’s unique blend of traditional, modern and out-of-the-box teaching methods, the health science program has grown enrollment from 12 students to 214 students in the span of 11 years, representing a 1688% increase. Mrs. Romano anticipates 81 students sitting for the exam at the end of this year to become Certified Nursing Assistants upon graduation from the program.

Ms. Romano was previously awarded the regional award and the state award by ACTE. Ms. Romano is the first teacher from New York State to be honored at the national level in the Health and Sciences division. Ms. Romano is only the second teacher from New York State to be recognized as a Teacher of the Year at the national level, since the award changed its name1980. 

“Ms. Romano exemplifies the kind of work our teachers are doing throughout the district. We’re excited Ms. Romano’s love of teaching and development of our scholars is receiving recognition on a national level. She is a primary example of how the Newburgh Enlarged City School district inspires scholars to become leaders beyond Academy Field. This honor is well deserved.” Dr. Roberto Padilla, Superintendent of the Newburgh Enlarged City School district

“I thank you every day for letting me be your teacher. If it wasn't for all of you and the trust you have in me. You're always willing to work and willing to learn, it is you who makes me who I am. It is always you. 

I want this to open doors for these students. They're all wonderful and they all deserve the best shot we can give them.” Mrs. Linda Romano said about her students during the press conference

Mrs. Romano goes above and beyond when teaching her students. Each student receives a uniform, but sometimes they don’t fit quite right, so she will hem them, so the students feel comfortable in their scrubs. Uniforms are required to participate in clinical hours. “If a student is unable to wash their uniform, I will wash it for them. I want to eliminate any excuse they may have for not being prepared and not being able to participate in those valuable and required clinical hours.” 

Heather Aponte, Senior at NFA North said, “We are all about Mrs. Romano and that's what makes her amazing. She’s like my school Mom. A lot of us come here on our free periods. She wants us to be ready to go as soon as we step out the door, so we can take a job and make money or take our skills and apply them to further school. She’s not just teaching us nursing. There are elements of being a nursing assistant, a License Practical Nurse, a Registered Nurse, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy – she teaches us a lot while we’re with her. I think her passion for us makes us want to perform better for her as well as for ourselves.”

After the press conference, Mrs. Romano, her Principal, Mr. Matteo Doddo, and Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla headed to Albany to meet with New York State Board of Regents members. “This type of education should be used as a model. The program Mrs. Romano has created is thoughtful and encourages engagement where students aren’t just taught to memorize, but to also apply what they’ve learned in real-life context.” Regent Judith Johnson

Excerpts from letters of nomination:

“It is because of Linda’s leadership style, cutting-edge knowledge of content, and deeply-rooted passion for the medical field that the participants in our CNA pathway evolve into the committed scholars that we observe by the time we hold the pinning ceremony. Throughout their years of study, Linda is sure to steep them in the text-based learning, complementing it with a myriad of hands-on experiences, such as blood pressure clinics, blood drives, and volunteering opportunities. In listening to our students speak about what they have learned during their years in the program, many agree that they learn a lot about people: how to build relationships, how to care for them, and how to love them in the face of challenging circumstances.” Ms. Sara Feliz, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

“Thanks to Linda Romano, our CNA pathway has evolved to be much more than just a career track; it is an opportunity for students to exercise their ability to love complete strangers as they apply their skillset. As we work towards expanding the program to include an LPN track, we are excited over the layers of greatness that Linda will infuse into that curriculum and learning experience as well.” Ms. Sara Feliz, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

“Ms. Romano demonstrates the highest level of professional, commitment and skill in her work with her students and colleagues. Through her enthusiasm, hard work, and careful planning, I believe her students have gained a rich experience that will benefit their goal of becoming professionals in the medical field. I feel that her unique melding of personal and professional qualities have enabled Ms. Romano to lead her colleagues and students into a favorable involvement of high expectations.” Mr. Matteo Doddo, Principal of NFA North campus

“In addition to her teaching duties, Ms. Romano has chaired the school’s Building Leadership Team, co-chaired the Health and Safety Team, organized numerous blood drives, conducted CPR/AED training for staff and students, written curriculum for the nursing program and volunteered numerous hours at the Newburgh Armory’s educational Saturday program. This tireless work comes from Ms. Romano’s heart and without fanfare. She truly is dedicated to her students.” Mr. Matteo Doddo, Principal of NFA North campus

“Linda is a teacher who exhibits compassion and nurturing for her students. Her lessons engage and provide a teaching model which contains lessons that infuse creativity and innovation while supporting the needs of her school district. She actively participates in her district to support literacy and increase graduation rates.” Constance Costley, President New York State Association of Career and Technical Education

Media Coverage:

Association of Career and Technical Education Press Release National Winner

Association of Career and Technical Education Press Release National Winner

Mid-Hudson Times (Press Conference Coverage)

Times Herald Record (Initial Release)

Times Herald Record (Press Conference Coverage)

Times Herald Record (Photos of Press Conference)

Spectrum Local News


TEACHERS: Are you and your students doing something great? Please contact your Communication Strategist. We’d love to attend or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district! Grades PreK-5 Angela Wise (angela.wise@necsd.net) and Grades 6-12 Cassie Sklarz (cassie.sklarz@necsd.net).











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