Marlborough Technology Specialist Team recognized at Teacher of the Year ceremony


By Stuart Foster, Contributing Writer

Chris Henry stands with Director of Instructional Technology Tom Plati, Jen Smith, Nancy Marrese, Jacquie Carter-Halbrooks, and superintendent of schools Michael Bergeron.
Chris Henry stands with Director of Instructional Technology Tom Plati, Jen Smith, Nancy Marrese, Jacquie Carter-Halbrooks, and superintendent of schools Michael Bergeron.

MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough United Brethren Masonic Lodge awarded the city’s public school system’s Technology Specialist Team with its Masonic Teacher of the Year award at a ceremony on Aug. 18.

The Technology Specialist Team, whose four members are Jacqueline Carter-Halbrooks, Chris Henry, Nancy Marrese and Jennifer Smith, were awarded for their role in teaching the school system’s teachers how to best incorporate technology in their instruction. 

“Outlined against a dark, gray COVID-19 pandemic cloud, Marlborough’s four instructional technology specialists took on the challenge of an upcoming crusade,” said Tom Plati, the director of Institutional Technology at Marlborough Public Schools.

Plati said that the members of the team regularly worked together to facilitate professional development workshops. They successfully swept away the doubts and technophobia of teachers in the Marlborough school system, he said.

Plati credited the Technology Specialist Team with pulling the district’s school system forward during a year that was extremely challenging due to the necessity of remote learning because of COVID-19. 

“Personally, I have been in the field of instructional technology education over 35 years,” said Plati. “Never in all this time in this technology field have I been associated with such an exemplary group of educators.”

Smith thanked the Masons for the award and said that the team was extremely honored to be the first team recognized as Marlborough’s Teacher of the Year.

She added that her team always works together to make their work more enjoyable and meaningful and thanked her team members. 

“Together, we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and we are each other’s most supportive friends,” Smith said.

Carter-Halbrooks thanked the team’s family members, while Henry acknowledged the support of the community and staff of the Marlborough school system, as well as the Marlborough Information Technology department. 

Marrese thanked Plati on behalf of the group, saying that Plati assembled the group after seeing creativity, leadership and a passion for teaching and learning in the team’s members.

“He has supported us, encouraged us, taught us, and always believed in us,” Marrese said. 

As the Technology Specialist Team won the award, Kate Olsen, a fourth-grade teacher at Jaworek Elementary School was also a finalist for it. 

Stephanie Richardson, a new fourth-grade teacher at Jaworek who nominated Olsen, wrote in her nomination letter that Olsen had been very helpful in her transition to Jaworek and described her as extremely dedicated to her students.

Richardson used an example of how Olsen supported a student this year who required movement breaks, which were less available due to the pandemic. Richardson said that Olsen got the student a floor pedal bike to use as a substitute for the breaks.

“Kate puts 150 percent effort into ensuring her students have what they always need,” Richardson said. “She goes out of her way to make sure all of her students receive the best possible education.”

Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant thanked the Masonic Lodge for continuing this tradition of honoring educators. He further thanked the Technology Specialist Team and Olsen.

“I can’t thank you enough for all you do for all our kids,” Vigeant said.  

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