And the award goes to...

Paula Candella, an 11 year teacher at Westmoreland Road Elementary school who was honored this morning with her husband and son by her side as the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has continued to make a positive difference, and is recognized as the type of educator who helps gives students the chance to live their dreams in a fire-safe and injury-free environment. She strongly supports fire safety and learning and spends a great deal of time teaching her Friendly Firefighter Program to her students which helps them to not be afraid of firefighters or their appearance when dressed in full gear. She also emphasizes how important it is for every family to have a fire escape plan in place. Her students have had a number of projects that involve family participation in order to create their own family escape plan.

Mrs. Candella’s passion for fire safety education goes beyond just a professional level. She has lived much of her life surrounded by firefighters. Her father was a volunteer firefighter for 52 years and her older brother for 30, both in Whitesboro. Her husband has been a career firefighter for 18 years, currently an officer with the Utica Fire Department. With these influences around her, it comes as no surprise that she takes teaching fire safety to a different level.  She was nominated for this honor by Whitesboro Fire Chief Peter Sobel and FASNY Director Brian F. McQueen.

If you see Paula, tell her conFROGulations or write on her Facebook page.

Her family, friends and students must be so proud.  Way to go Paula!