Mustang of the Month; Mr. Barrett Hawes, Mrs. Nicolette Burgess, Mr. Daniel Circelli; March 2023

The PBIS Leadership Team is proud to announce our Mustang of the Month award recipients for the month of March. Congratulations to Barrett Hawes, Nicolette Burgess and Daniel Circelli!

Our first Mustang of the Month is Barrett Hawes, a Physical Education teacher at Mount Markham Elementary. Barrett Hawes is a local to the area, having been born and raised in West Edmeston. Barrett Hawes attended MVCC, Clarks Summit University and Russell Sage College before receiving his master’s in health education from SUNY Cortland.

Barrett Hawes’s favorite aspect of Mount Markham is the family-oriented structure of the schools. Hawes enjoys listening to the students’ stories about their families and lives.

Throughout his life, Barrett Hawes has found that being humble and willing to help others has promoted his success. Many of Hawes’s colleagues have taken notice of his helpful and kind nature.

“Under the word ‘kindness’ in the dictionary is a picture of Barrett Hawes,” Elementary School Principal Jennifer McDonald said. “Barrett goes above and beyond to help anyone in need, from helping a coworker carry a load in from their car, to walking with peers down the hall to check on how they are doing and asking if there is anything he might do to make their day better or easier. All of this is done with humility and sincerity!”

When he’s not at work, Hawes enjoys being with his family, spending time outdoors, going on family vacations (often to visit family in other states), going to church and on mission trips, and generally going outside of his “comfort zone.”

Barrett Hawes also wishes to express his gratitude in receiving the Mustang of the Month Award.

“It’s truly an honor to receive this award, thank you so much for your appreciation,” Hawes said. “I’m humbled.”

Our second Mustang of the Month, Nicolette Burgess, is a teacher at Mount Markham Middle School. Burgess received her undergraduate degree in childhood education from the Catholic University of America and earned her master’s in literacy from Suny Cortland. Before coming to Mount Markham, Burgess worked for four years at Notre Dame Elementary in Utica.

Nicolette Burgess’s favorite part of working in the Mount Markham Central School District is the sense of belonging she feels from the community. Initially, Burgess had concerns about switching from private to public education, but the parents, students and the picturesque farms and rolling hills in the Mount Markham area have made her feel right at home.

Burgess’s key to success has been her willingness to build connections and relationships with students, co-workers and families, and many have commented on her warm demeanor and noted her efforts to form positive relationships.

“Mrs. Burgess is a genuine and compassionate teacher,” one parent said. “She is a breath of fresh air for parents and students entering the middle school for the first time. I raised a few concerns I was having with my son and Mrs. Burgess enthusiastically addressed these concerns and together we came up with solutions. It is nice to have a teacher-parent relationship, where the parent feels heard and validated.”

Many of the people that Nicolette Burgess works closely with have also noted her empathetic and caring attitude.

“Following an after-school event, Nicolette welcomed a parent at her classroom window frantic to find her daughter who had not arrived home on the late bus,” Middle School Principal Sean Carone said. “Nicolette contacted the bus garage and the building principal to attempt to find the student. Shortly after the student was found to be on the bus, which was running late. Nicolette stayed with the parent until her daughter was found and provided the parent with comfort and relief.”

Outside of work, Burgess loves to travel; frequently journeying to Disney, but also having gone to Norway, Ireland, France and other amazing places with her husband.

Our final Mustang of the Month, Daniel Circelli, is a teacher at Mount Markham High School. Although he hails from New Hartford, Circelli had an extensive journey before arriving at Mount Markham. Circelli attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Logistics and Transportation, a commission as an Ensign in the Naval Reserve and a USCG Third Mates License to drive ships of unlimited tonnage.

After working as a Third Officer for a couple years, Circelli worked in transportation in Boston, met his future wife and moved to Pittsburgh, changed careers to become a teacher, moved to Syracuse and finally earned his master’s in education at Syracuse University. Prior to working at Mount Markham, Daniel Circelli worked at Henninger High school in Syracuse as a history teacher.

Daniel Circelli’s favorite part about working in the Mount Markham Central School District is the camaraderie and close-knit nature of the community. Circelli finds the community pride to be very inspiring.

To Daniel Circelli, it is important to build relationships with the students. In his experience, Circelli has found that students are more willing to invest themselves in class if they trust him and know that he wants them to be successful.

Many of Daniel Circelli’s students have noted the effort that he puts into building a comfortable, positive atmosphere.

“He's [Circelli] my favorite teacher,” one student said. “He makes class fun.”

In his free time, Daniel Circelli spends a lot of his time at his children’s activities, either coaching or spectating. Circelli’s daughters participate in soccer, basketball, softball and gymnastics, while his son plays t-ball and soccer.  As most of his family lives in the Utica area, Circelli also spends much of his time with family.