Herkimer BOCES administrator honored with Leadership and Support Award

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ALBANY — Sarah Trunfio, supervisor of instructional support services and mentoring for the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, has been selected as the 2022 recipient of the Leadership and Support Award by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS).

The SAANYS Leadership and Support Award was established to recognize the outstanding leadership efforts of those members whose responsibilities require leadership through support services to educators and students across and between school buildings and districts.

Trunfio has been instrumental in impacting teacher retention, student literacy rates, and helping staff build better relationships with students while addressing social, emotional, and mental health, according to an announcement by BOCES.

She created a BOCES-specific mentoring induction model, developed from research and best practices in mentoring, that has had a positive impact on teacher retention. The three-year induction model places an emphasis on teaching best practices and social and emotional learning wellness.

Trunfio is also facilitating a culture and climate K-12 district-wide initiative developed from needs-based planning sessions with district leadership, the announcement added. Staff and leadership, including the district’s superintendent, are involved in this initiative. The professional development content is grounded in the work of Brené Brown and her book Daring Leadership.

The Science of Reading is another of Trunfio’s significant initiatives in the district. The program involves training on foundations and research behind teaching students to read. Her team is also working with the alternative high school to discover the root causes of reading barriers and to implement a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model to resolve them.

Rene M. Wilson, Ph.D., director of special education and elementary principal with Richfield Springs Central School District, said, “Sarah is a wealth of knowledge on so many topics pertinent to educational leadership, student learning, the art and science of teaching, and social-emotional learning. She always shows up as a student, teacher, or leader as her authentic self. She creates safe learning spaces where I can actually attach to the joy and struggle and messiness of growth because she is always professional, always kind, always empathetic, and brilliant. “My school improvement plan has her mark all over it, and she is a steady presence in my building monthly, if not more,” Wilson added. “We engage in exploratory dialogue and she is a resource I always turn to, and if she doesn’t have the answer she researches and helps with solution-focused planning.”

Trunfio has been with Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES for nine years and has worked as a special education teacher as well as a mentoring coordinator there. She received her school building leader and school district leader certifications from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, a master’s degree from SUNY Cortland, and a bachelor’s from Illinois College. Trunfio and fellow 2022 award winners will be recognized at SAANYS’ annual awards celebration, taking place on May 6 at the Crown Plaza Albany - Desmond Hotel.

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