It came as quite a surprise, but was much deserved, as Supt. Mary Bourque and Clark Avenue Middle School Principal Michael Talbot informed Clark Ave teacher Sally Siriani on May 31 that she was the Chelsea Rotary
Teacher of the Year.
Siriani has spent 20 years in the district, all at the Clark Avenue Middle teaching math and science in grades 5 and 6.
“I love the kids,” she said. “I as born to do this. I put magnets on the refrigerator when I was little and pretended to grade homework papers. I played school all day. My friend Holly Correia, who now teaches in Revere, would always play school. We would take stuffed animals and put them in seats and play school all day long. I’m flattered and honored and shocked. It’s great to be recognized.”
Siriani grew up in Winthrop and attended Catholic Schools there, graduating from Winthrop High School in 1990. She attended Fitchburg State and then worked at the now-closed Assumption School in Chelsea. When it closed down, she was hired to be one of the first teachers in 1998 to come into the new Clark Avenue Middle School.
Previously, the building was used as Chelsea High School.
Current Supt. Mary Bourque was the assistant principal at the time and said that Siriani was the backbone of the school.
“Personally, I know Ms. Siriani from our early days at the Clark Avenue School and her deep devotion to providing the highest quality education for all students,” said Bourque. “I also remember the days when a new school was but a conversation for us all. Ms. Siriani has lived through another Clark Avenue Middle School milestone – construction – and is now teaching a new generation of students in the new building that we used to only dream about in 1998.”
Principal Talbot said her strength is building relationships with her students.
“She collaborates with the other Math teacher at her grade level in order to best meet the needs of all of her students,” he said. “She regularly uses pre-assessments to see where the gaps are and flexibly groups her students in differentiated activities in order to help them with the mastery of the skills that are required. She also asks students to self-assess themselves, set realistic and challenging goals, and then plans thoughtful learning activities for all of her students. She works incredibly hard on behalf of her students and she is able to build strong relationships with her students, as evidenced by so many coming back to see her each year.”
Siriani was to be honored at the Rotary Lunch on Tuesday, June 5.