Anne Santoro was nominated by her local state representative and neighbor, Carole Fiola.
Ms. Santoro has been a first grade teacher for over 30 years, and each and every day, she approaches her students, classroom and peers as if it's her first day of teaching.
"I have known Anne for approximately 25 years. I am still amazed at the number of current and past students and family members who approach her, whether at CVS, a community event or on the street to give her a hug, an update or to just say thank you," said Fiola. "I am also a neighbor of Anne's and see her car is gone by 7 AM each school day. She returns most days after 5 PM. Anne gives 200 percent to the needs of each of her students, no matter where they are on the learning curve.
Ms. Santoro is a second mother to a family of three boys, as well as two younger siblings who haven't made it to school yet. The three boys went through her classroom and require a guiding hand, a ride to school when needed, Christmas presents and someone to keep them on the straight and narrow, even though two of them are no longer in her school. She is truly someone very special.
Ms. Santoro's weekends during the school year are often occupied with classroom preparations, activity planning and conversations with parents or peers regarding school issues.
Ms. Santoro is always looking to improve the way things are done in her classroom. She involves the students in activities to salute veterans and invites veterans to her classroom for the children to thank and ask questions. She conducts pajama and book drives for children and the needy, and is always thinking of new ways to incorporate curriculum and community awareness into her work with the students.
"Her goal is to prepare 'her kids' to be the best they can as she sends them off to second grade," said Fiola. "She's also not afraid to take on difficult conversations with families about what she thinks students need to improve, excel or stay on track. She is also one of the kindest people I and others know."
"Anne has been an extraordinary educator, a true LifeChanger, and a difference maker for over 30 years," Fiola concluded.