Trumbull names teacher, para educator of the year

TRUMBULL — Trumbull Public Schools has named Madison Middle School teacher Elizabeth “Liz” O’Hagan its 2023 teacher of the year and Melissa Daniele, of Hillcrest Middle School, its para educator of the year.

Each of the 11 schools in the district met with their school-based committee to select one nomination to be considered for the 2023 Teacher of the Year and one nomination for the 2023 Para Educator of the Year. Their nominees completed short essays based on the state qualifications. District committees of teacher representatives and para educator representatives then met to read their submissions with names redacted.

Daniele and O’Hagan received their awards on June 10.

O’Hagan has served Trumbull Public Schools for 23 years and is now an 8th grade English language arts teacher at Madison. During the nominating process, one parent praised O’Hagan’s compassion and patience.

“Mrs. O’Hagan really took the time to get to know my son despite his sometimes-challenging behavior issues this year at Madison,” the parent wrote. “She always fully supported him and has been an advocate for him. She made her classroom a safe space for him no matter when he needed to go there.”

Daniele also has a long history in Trumbull Public Schools. She’s been everything from a regular substitute at Booth Hill to to a paraprofessional at Daniels Farm and Hillcrest. Daniele has served in Trumbull Public Schools for over 14 years as a para educator.

During the nominating process, one teacher praised Daniele’s approach.

“Melissa Daniele goes above and beyond in establishing great relationships with students and staff,” the teacher wrote. “She is compassionate and knows when to push individual students to do more and when to support them.”