LHS educator Puleo wins first Presser Award

Sep 12, 2019 by

Publishing September 11, 2019

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — Joey Puleo has dedicated his life to making a positive impact in and out of the classroom.

Puleo’s dedication and hard work were recognized late last month when the School Committee presented the Lynnfield High School English teacher with the first annual Dorothy Presser Award, which was established in honor of the former school board member.

“I’m honored and overjoyed to receive this award,” said Puleo in an email sent to the Villager. “There are so many talented and dedicated teachers in Lynnfield, so I am truly grateful to be recognized.”  

In an email sent to the Villager, School Committee Chairman Jamie Hayman said the committee created the award to “honor Dorothy’s tireless dedication to the Lynnfield Public Schools through her 21 years on the School Committee.”

LHS ENGLISH TEACHER Joey Puleo proudly displays the Dorothy Presser Award he recently received from the School Committee. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

“The award is a peer-nominated award recognizing a Lynnfield Public Schools’ employee who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to advancing the Lynnfield Public Schools,” said Hayman.

Hayman noted a number of educators nominated Puleo for the award because of “his dedication to Lynnfield Public Schools both in and out of the classroom.”

“He is one of the first teachers in the building every day at school and one of the last ones to leave in the afternoon or at night, depending on the season,” said Hayman. “He spends time perfecting his curriculum every year, sharing with co-workers, attending conferences and sharing his material on professional development days.”

Puleo has been teaching English at LHS for the past nine years. He has been involved with a number of different initiatives at the high school over the course of his tenure.

“I am involved in a number of committees and organizations,” said Puleo. “Last year, I was the senior class advisor and this year I am the junior class advisor. I’m also an advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance as well as a member of the Joint Evaluation Committee.”

Puleo works for Community Schools in addition to teaching English at Lynnfield High.

“I direct the musical and run multiple Summer Of Fun Activities camps over the summer,” said Puleo. “I run a college essay workshop every July, and an SAT prep class each winter. This year, I’m also working with Community Schools to bring back the Haunted High School. I love working with Community Schools because I’m able to engage with students and parents throughout the district.”  

Puleo grew up in town and graduated from LHS in 2006. He noted Presser presented him with his diploma at graduation.

“I’m thankful to work with educators who inspired me to become a teacher,” said Puleo. “I have such a strong, personal connection to the school and town. Even though I no longer live in Lynnfield, this is my home.”

Puleo said teaching English at LHS is very gratifying.

“The most rewarding aspect of being an English teacher is watching my students grow personally and academically throughout their four years,” said Puleo. “Since I’m passionate about what I teach, I love watching students explore some of my favorite books for the first time. It’s rewarding seeing them connect with the texts and form their own unique thoughts and opinions.”

Puleo has enjoyed teaching in his hometown because “Lynnfield has such a strong sense of community.”

“I’ve made lifelong relationships with students and teachers here,” said Puleo. “In Lynnfield, we value academics, but we also value developing students to become respectable and empathetic people outside the classroom.”

Superintendent Jane Tremblay said the School Committee’s decision to present Puleo with the first annual Dorothy Presser Award is well deserved.

“I am thrilled Joey Puleo is the first receipt of the Dorothy Presser Award,” said Tremblay. “He exemplifies the definition of what it stands for. He is a tremendous asset to Lynnfield Public Schools.”  

High School Principal Bob Cleary agreed.

“We are very proud of Joey,” said Cleary. “His involvement and impact in the building and community makes him extremely deserving of this award.”

Lynnfield Community Schools Coordinator Michaelann Herook concurred with Tremblay and Cleary’s points of view.

“Joey Puleo has been an awesome addition to not only Lynnfield Community Schools, but the entire community,” said Herook. “He always goes above and beyond in everything he does. The elementary students fill his SOFA camps programs all summer long. Not only the students love him, parents are always complimenting me about him and his interactions with young children. Some of his camp programs start at age 3. His ability to work with students that young and then with students all the way up through high school I feel makes him such a great asset to our community.”

Hayman noted the School Committee appreciated receiving a number of “wonderful nominations” from educators across the district when Dorothy Presser Award nominations were being solicited last spring.

“The number of nominations we received was a true reflection of the Lynnfield Public Schools community, and created a very difficult decision,” said Hayman. “Congratulations to all who were nominated.”

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