Watertown Public Schools is delighted to celebrate Lori Birtwistle as our 2020-21 Paraeducator of the Year. Ms. Birtwistle was one of eight exemplary paraprofessionals nominated, representing all five of our schools, for the committee’s consideration. Ms. Birtwistle expressed her appreciation during a small gathering on her front lawn earlier this afternoon. In addition to the remarks shared by the Superintendent of Schools, Interim Director of Student Services and Supervisor of Special Education, Ms. Birtwistle was congratulated by her family, friends and neighbors. She expressed her gratitude for the honor and thanked her paraprofessional colleagues whom calls her "support team".
Ms. Birtwistle is woven into the fabric of the Watertown-Oakville community. She has lived here most of her life, raised children here, attended Watertown schools and worked within day care settings in town. She has pursued education and activities that keep her interacting with the public and helping those within the local community. At present, Ms. Birtwistle enthusiastically juggles her position as a paraprofessional, being a mom, working with toddlers in a day care setting and occasionally offering tutoring to former students who have graduated and need some support with college courses.
Ms. Birtwistle has been employed as a paraprofessional for Watertown Public Schools for sixteen years, the past eleven of which have been within Watertown High School. She brings a specific skill set to support students within the math and science courses but can also be found working with individual students and small groups to provide academic remediation and practice across all content areas. Ms. Birtwistle knows that learning requires effort, organization and confidence so she is constantly working to ready and to help restart students so that they get the most out of each school day. Her dedication to the students is unmistakable in her words: “I am never going to give up on any of [the students]. I will try and try until [the student] succeeds.”
Ms. Birtwistle, as Watertown’s Paraeducator of the Year, is in good company with not only the other seven paraprofessional nominees but dozens more who support the students and teachers of Watertown Public Schools every day. Please share in our recognition of this year’s paraprofessional nominees: Nanette Brodeur (Judson); Susan Chowaniec (Judson); Gail DeFrancesco (Swift); Rose Farrow (John Trumbull); Wendy Goodman (Polk); Roseanne Mancini (Judson); and Amy Mordarski (Polk).
We are proud to have Lori Birtwistle represent Watertown Public Schools and to be considered for the statewide Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Award.