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Wendy McAlonie

Wendy McAlonie teaching her AP World History class.

Columbia social studies teacher Wendy McAlonie is passionate about history and about teaching, so it makes perfect sense that she loves her job. Even her kids at home know this, saying that she doesn’t go to work, “mom goes to school.”

On Wednesday morning, as Mrs. McAlonie was about to give her students in Global History an exam, she was surprised by Principal John Sawchuk and Sean Crall, a Goff English teacher and the president of the East Greenbush Teachers Association.

Mr. Crall walked into her classroom, presented her with a bouquet of red flowers, and told Mrs. McAlonie and her students that she had been named the EGTA Teacher of the Year.

“I was really overwhelmed and really surprised how emotional I was,” said Mrs. McAlonie, who was applauded by her students.

This is Mrs. McAlonie’s 19th year teaching history at Columbia, which she believes is more important than ever.

“I think there’s more of an interest in history than ever before because kids want to understand the current world they live in,” she said.

All day Wednesday, Mrs. McAlonie received congratulatory notes from co-workers, former students and retired colleagues.

“It has been my pleasure to work with Wendy since I arrived at Columbia,” Mr. Sawchuk said. “She is a true professional who always puts kids first – one of the finest teachers I have ever worked with.”

Multicultural Fair

Students, staff and community members watch a demonstration at the 2016 Multicultural Fair.

Last spring, Mrs. McAlonie organized a Multicultural Fair at the high school that featured student-created artwork, poster displays and food, as well as, demonstrations such as Irish dance, Indian music and Korean martial arts. The event culminated with keynote speaker Kati Preston, a Holocaust survivor and author.

“The Multicultural Fair was one of the most important things I’ve done as a teacher,” said Mrs. McAlonie, who serves as the Social Studies Department Chair. “I think it helped bring the community together and it was a very positive experience for our students.”

The EGTA Teacher of the Year award, which is voted on by the district’s teachers, has been given out annually since 1970.

“This award has special significance because it is your peers who are recognizing your excellence,” Mr. Crall said. “The teachers of the East Greenbush Teachers Association are a special group of people who always go beyond what is expected for the children they serve. Their recognition of Wendy McAlonie speaks volumes to her dedication to her students and her craft.”

After Mrs. McAlonie’s moment of recognition concluded on Tuesday, and class resumed, she told her students, “I hope one day you all can have a job that you enjoy as much as I do, and are passionate about as much as I am.”

EGTA Teacher of the Year Award

2017       Wendy McAlonie

2016       Curtis Sankey

2015       Melissa Gilligan

2014       Nancy Boucher

2013       Monica Blanchfield

2012       Bob Halek

2011       Diana Prout

2010       Jean Decker

2009       Lisa Westman

2008       Linda Kaminski

2007       Peter Zilgme

2006       Christina Rogone

2005       Denise Nahal

2004       The Staff at CHS

2003       Sean Crall

2002       Larraine Gillette

2001       Nikki Carter-Piechnik

2000       Susan Owens

1999       Sally Sroka

1998       Virginia Congemi

1997       Kevin McCann

1996       Mary LaFleur

1995       Linda McCabe

1994       Lynda DeCelle

1993       Denise Poost

1992       Barbara Poole

1991       Kathy DeWeese

1990       Henry Kolakoski

1989       Robert Crosby

1988       Benedict Schaefer

1987       Elizabeth Lyman

1986       Shirley Howard

1985       Carlton Eno

1984       Louise Pearce

1983       Peter Citrolo

1982       Michael Angelo

1981       Marilyn Reeves

1980       Kileen Stone

1979       Edith Cosgrove

1978       Thelma Donahue

1977       Robert King

1976       Jean Burgess

1975       Raymond Gietz

1974       Elizabeth McMaster

1973       Alfred Viola

1972       Bernice Pechenik

1971       Paul Bourgeois

1970       Ruth Herr