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NECSD Librarian Receives MHSSC Teacher Excellence Award


Earlier this year, Ms. Catherine Gilligan, School Library Media Specialist at Vails Gate STEAM Academy received a Mid-Hudson School Study Council Award for Teacher Excellence. Ms. Gilligan has been working in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District for 32 years before retiring this year. 

Mrs. Gilligan has worked diligently to promote the use of the library in her school, but also with our community library. She has coordinated multiple levels of outreach to families in her school and has collaborated with colleagues in other schools to promote this important initiative. Additionally, she has worked with the librarians at our local library to engage families with their services and resources. Helping families build these connections promotes learning opportunities beyond the traditional walls and timeframes of our school buildings. Ms. Gilligan enables scholars and their families to take ownership of their learning by connecting them with a world of resources that they will continue to have access to beyond their time in our schools and well into adulthood.

"Mrs. Gilligan has proven to be a life-long reader and learner. She goes above and beyond to ensure that students in our school have an enriching reading experience by offering different learning opportunities. Students are engaged in literacy through project based/hands on learning. Our students have learned how to knit, cook, build, read and write through the lessons she prepares. Many of her lessons incorporate the engineering design process which is at the core of all that we do as a STEAM school," Mrs. Ciria Briscoe-Perez, principal of Vails Gate STEAM Academy

"Ms. Gilligan clearly stands out in her field as an educator and a community collaborator. During the past few years in particular, Cathy has made a concerted effort and commitment to expanding the learning opportunities for her students by engaging the Newburgh Free Library as a key literacy partner," Ms. Mary Lou Carolan, Director for the Newburgh Free Library

"Her creativity with bringing literature to life is superior. She will dress as characters (my favorite being the man in the big yellow hat from Curious George), invite guests into the school to read, as well as host reading activities both during the day and during evening events. She has made connections with authors and illustrators and was able to secure a local Caldecott Award winning illustrator to come to a special reading night. In the past few years, Cathy has hosted “high tea” for our 5th grade scholars using china teapots, cups, and saucers with linen napkins and finger foods. This was a special treat for our students as it occurred once a month with a different theme in mind," Ms. Chrinstine Mackey, music educator, Vails Gate STEAM Academy

Congratulations, Ms. Gilligan! We hope you enjoy retirement! 

Mrs. Gilligan has been featured on our website highlighting her work:

Sign Up For A Library Card - Access eBooks and Audiobooks for Free

Teachers Work to Increase Library Card Ownership Among Students

Vails Gate Gators Knit Red For A Cause!

2016 NECSD Points of Pride: Librarian Cathy Gilligan worked in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension to improve the courtyard garden at the school. The garden now offers an outdoor space for students. Students also planted the “three sisters” in conjunction with a lesson about Native American culture. According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together.


ATTENTION: Are your scholars or colleagues doing something great? Please contact the district Communications Strategist, Cassie Sklarz (csklarz@necsd.net). We’d love to visit your class or event and/or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district!



Ms. Gilligan poses for a photo with Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla, assistant principal Ms. Eileen Cruz, and principal Mrs. Ciria Briscoe-Perez.
Ms. Gilligan reacts to receiving her award.
Ms. Gilligan is congratulated by her colleagues.
Ms. Gilligan is congratulated by her colleagues.


Ms. Gilligan is congratulated by her colleagues.


Date: 2021-07-15 19:38:28





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