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Administrator of the Year

Administrator of the Year

Valerie Massimo was named Western Suffolk BOCES 2018-19 Administrator of the Year for her work with the design and use of the Creative Learning Labs as well as the available technology in our district. As principal at Lloyd Harbor elementary school for the past 11 years, Ms. Massimo has been instrumental in leading the charge by creating more student-centered classrooms for enhanced learning. She formed a research team to learn from industry leaders, which included a trip to Birchbox, a NYC organization built around making customers and employees happy at what they do, and proud to share their love of life with others. The team also toured of The New School to see and hear from a college that values creativity and respects individuality. Their visit to Hulu inspired the development of a “Passion Wall” at Lloyd Harbor school. This area is just one initiative that illustrates the value Ms. Massimo places on student and teacher interests to drive inquiry, design, and projects throughout the building. How inspiring to have a team experience various professional and collegiate environments that encourage working collaboratively on projects, pooling knowledge and creativity, in a welcoming space.

Executive Director of Technology, Mr. Joseph Monastero, nominated Valerie for this award. He explained, "Ms. Massimo took on the idea of “de-fronting” the classroom by co-chairing the Creative Learning Labs/Flexible Workspace Project. This project was initiated to better understand how to create learning spaces for students and staff that are flexible, promoting creativity, collaboration and a departure from our more traditional computer labs. Ms. Massimo spearheaded a group of teachers and leaders, where they presented at a national conference showcasing her collaborative nature and the value she places on leading by example." After another trip to visit Steelcase in NYC, witnessing the success of flexible workspaces, she broadened the Creative Learning Lab concept to individual classrooms and initiated pulling out computer labs across the district.

She spends countless hours helping her staff and students integrate technology into their learning. Over the past three years, she has led the charge with the district’s student Chromebook initiative, supported virtual reality, and embraced a student-run Lloyd Harbor Morning News video station (for which she also won an award 6 years ago). Ms. Massimo also encourages schools to visit CSH to share these successes. Ms. Massimo shared, "This award came as a total surprise. My friend and colleague, Joe Monastero, carefully chose to highlight the work that I am most passionate about…specifically our creative learning spaces and flexible seating areas. These environments foster collaboration and innovation and most importantly, help students to develop skills necessary for the 21st century learner. I am very grateful to have such an honor awarded not only to me, but to all of Lloyd Harbor School, where learning is challenging, collaborative and creative!" Ms. Massimo also expressed her gratitude for the support of the Board of Education and the entire administration for making so many things possible.