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To honor the important work of our employees, we recognize outstanding substitute teachers, paraeducators, and support staff through our annual Substitute Educator of the Year program. Joe Maurizi, a substitute cafeteria/recess support person in Media, Pennsylvania, is the winner of our 2022 Substitute Educator of the Year award in the Support Staff category.
In this Q&A, Joe shares why he chose to work with Kelly Education and who his most memorable teacher was growing up.
Why did you want to become a substitute educator?
After retiring as a field service representative for a healthcare corporation, my friend suggested that I try working as a teacher support staff worker. I am not a teacher, nor do I have any formal teacher training. Because of this I was very hesitant to apply for a support position. However, thinking about my own struggles as a student I thought this could be a way to help someone who was having similar difficulties.
What do you enjoy the most about being a substitute educator?
I mostly work as a cafeteria/recess support person at Indian Lane Elementary School, which I really enjoy. Sometimes I have the opportunity to work with kindergarten students, helping them with printing the alphabet. That’s a real hoot! I try to help them understand where the line should start and then how to aim for the point where they want it to end—always reminding them to take their time. Nothing beats seeing their happy faces when they print a near perfect letter. Hot dog with mustard on it!!
My advice to students is that it’s perfectly okay not to know or understand things. The reason that you are in school is to learn. If you knew everything—you would have no reason to be there. So, when you have questions or are in over your head, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Helping is what teachers have dedicated their lives to.
What advice do you have for someone considering becoming a substitute educator?
Start out slow. Don’t be afraid to work different grade levels. You may be surprised to learn that you have a hidden skill that could really benefit a child. Most of all, if you are thinking about substituting you probably are already bitten by the support staff bug, so act on your feelings and do it!
Why did you choose to work for Kelly Education?
The support staff at Kelly Education is great. This work allows me the opportunity to work a schedule that fits my lifestyle. I can pick and choose the days and schools that are convenient for me. I have time to spend with our grandson and enjoy my retirement, and I really like being paid on a weekly basis.
Is there a teacher from your childhood that stands out in your memories?
Yes, my 7th grade teacher, Sister M. John Christi D’Alessandro, IHM. I was a very poor student and was barely able to read, not a good position for a 13-year-old inner city kid to be in. Sister discreetly assigned a classmate to help me with my spelling. Slowly my phonics improved—and as a result so did my reading skills. Eventually my grades as well as my self-confidence started to rise. That was the turning point of my outlook on school.
To be honest, my life could have gone in a very different direction if not for Sr. John recognizing my problem and taking action to correct it. I owe her a very big debt of gratitude.
What colleagues say about Mr. Maurizi.
“Mr. Maurizi arrives each day with a smile on his face and a positive attitude to support our students. From the first day, he has filled all the various roles within the building, particularly the lunchroom and recess areas. From the start, he has jumped right in and has positively impacted the supervision in these areas. Mr. Maurizi is loved by the students at Indian Lane.”
– John D. Reid, Principal of Indian Lane Elementary School
“Joe Maurizi is our own personal ray of sunshine. He is everyone’s go-to man for an extra hand and is more than happy to fulfill any duty or task. Mr. Joe goes above and beyond to keep up the positive energy. We here, at Indian Lane, are lucky to call him a colleague and friend!”
– Alicia Poletti, Colleague
Congratulations, Joe Maurizi!
"Joe Maurizi is a true representative of the high-quality educators Kelly Education provides to its partner schools each day. He is dedicated to ensuring the needs of each student are met. We are proud to recognize his commitment with this honor.”
– Nicola Soares, President of Kelly Education
As one of four Substitute Educator of the Year winners, Joe Maurizi will receive a $5,000 bonus from Kelly Education, as well as $1,500 donated on his behalf to Indian Lane Elementary School.
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