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Clarence Board of Education Presents 13 Red Devil Recognitions

Clarence Board of Education Presents 13 Red Devil Recognitions

The work of students, staff and faculty in the Clarence Central School District to uplift the school community was recognized with the presentation of Red Devil Recognitions.

Thirteen people received the award during the district Board of Education meeting on June 10. Red Devil Recognitions celebrate members of the school community who demonstrate the values of kindness, respect, hard work and compassion.

Clarence High School senior Jordan Brandau was nominated by fellow student Louis Mancuso for her academic achievement, her musical talents, as well as the kindness she displays through bringing in homemade items for what she calls “Cookie Friday.” Brandau was one of the organizers of the high school’s inaugural Women in STEM seminar, which brought together 60 students to meet with industry professionals.

“Her positive impact resonates throughout the school, making it a more enjoyable place for everyone,” Louis said.

Clarence High School senior Cole Brinkerhoff was nominated by fellow student John Berdysiak for the positive attributes he displayed as a student-athlete and baseball camp counselor. John said he appreciated Cole being a friendly presence in the cafeteria, often telling funny jokes to him and his friends.

“This is not something he has to do, it's something he chooses to do,” John said. “Cole is a role model to me.”

Ledgeview Elementary School teacher Kyla Campanella was nominated by Allison Marranca for her support for her daughter as she experienced medical issues. Marranca also credited Campanella with creating an atmosphere where every child’s needs are valued and respected.

“Her unwavering dedication to her students' well-being and academic growth is evident in the personalized attention and encouragement she provides to each child, helping them overcome obstacles and reach their full potential,” Marranca said.

Catherine "Rudy" Huling, a nurse at Sheridan Hill Elementary School, was nominated by Susan Stein for her compassionate care for her son and his medical needs.

“There has never been a time that she hasn’t gone above and beyond for his care,” Stein said. “She trains other staff, stays late if he needs care in after-school, and is always working to figure out the best way to manage his needs.”

William Kufel, a custodian at Clarence Middle School, was nominated by Shannon Lincoln for going above and beyond in his work at the school. Lincoln described Kufel as “hard working, kind, efficient and overall a genuinely nice guy.”

“Bill Kufel will always ask how your day is, if you need anything, and what he can do to help,” Lincoln said. “The Clarence School District is lucky to have Bill Kufel as part of our Buildings and Grounds team of dedicated workers.”

Athletic trainer Mikala McCartney was recognized by School Resource Office Michael Ballow for her dedication toward supporting the district’s student-athletes. Ballow shared testimonials from multiple athletic coaches, who praised the physical and emotional care she provided and her communication skills with student-athletes and coaches.

“Whether she’s conducting concussion protocols, speaking with a parent regarding an injury or just taping ankle after ankle, her kindness, compassion and love for her profession is always on display,” Ballow said.

Clarence High School special education teacher Jodi Rospierski was nominated by fellow teacher Beth Brawn for how she approaches her work, “while always having a smile on her face.”

“Jodi is passionate about working with her students,” Brawn said. “She has patience, empathy, and the ability to build positive relationships with her students.”

Clarence High School teacher Brian Schmidt was nominated by student Oaklie Zdrojewski for putting in extra hours to support his students, and for being a dedicated adviser to the Future Business Leaders of America and Interact Club. His effort can also be seen in how he decorates his classroom through the year, and in his support for the district’s Athletic Wall of Fame.

“His kindness and respect reaches every student, truly making a positive mark on the community,” Oaklie said. “I can personally say that Mr. Schmidt never fails to brighten my day, and he is extremely worthy of recognition in our district.”

Douglas Shaw, a music teacher at Clarence High School, was nominated by senior Ethan Przytulski for supporting his development as a cello performer after years away from playing music.

“He makes playing an instrument something other than a chore or burden: it is an actively engaging and fun part of my day, and having the chance to be his student, hear his anecdotal stories of playing in one quartet or another, and keep my passion for playing the cello alive is more than I could ask for,” Ethan said.

Clarence Middle School special education teacher Michelle Tipton was nominated by Addison Urbanek for going above and beyond as a teacher and mentor. Addison said her skills in math greatly improved by working with Tipton.

“She always had the best interest in mind for me and pushed me to reach my goals and better myself as a student,” Addison said.

Evan Vahratian, coordinator of the Clarence Family Support Center, was nominated by Steven Diver for his commitment to mental health through community involvement and engagement. Among the highlights noted by Diver was in the center’s new activities like the Headlamp Hikes, which brings the community together at the Clarence Nature Center.

“As a leader of the FSC, we expect leadership from Evan, but he has taken his leadership from the school domain into the community, for the benefit of Clarence students, and for the long term health and wellbeing of the community,” Diver said.

Gretchen Burden and Christine Rich-Reese, educators at Harris Hill Elementary School, were nominated by John Berdysiak for their support of his educational career. John described Burden as “kind, patient and helpful” in developing his speech and writing skills, and said Rich-Reese helped him be successful in his school work.

“Their work and patience has helped me have confidence in myself and prepare for adulthood,” John said. “They have both gone above and beyond to give me this opportunity.”

To learn more about the award, visit

Jodi Rospierski, center left
Douglas Shaw
Evan Vahratian, center left
Gretchen Burden and Christine Rich-Reese, center of image.