Mustang of the Month Melissa Burke Karie Sanzo Diane Jones October 2023 Mount Markham Central School District Challenging and Inspiring Life-Long Learners; white text on blue background and vice versa, images of the recipients

The PBIS Leadership Team is proud to announce our Mustang of the Month award recipients for the month of October. Congratulations to Melissa Burke, Karie Sanzo and Diane Jones!

Our first Mustang of the Month is Melissa Burke, a staff member at Mount Markham Elementary School.

 Originally hailing from Western New York, Burke met her husband Christopher, a Mount Markham alumnus, while she was a student at SUNY Morrisville, and chose to remain in the area. Burke’s three children, Rachel, Stephanie and Brad, are all alumni of Mount Markham CSD.

 Burke’s favorite part about working at Mount Markham CSD is the family-like atmosphere and relationships that she is able to build with her colleagues.

 To Burke, the children always come first, and her drive to help students succeed is noticed by those who work closest to her.

 “Missy (Melissa Burke) goes above and beyond every single day,” Mount Markham Elementary Principal Jennifer McDonald said. “She volunteers to help wherever she is needed, in addition to her assigned duties. Missy is an asset to our building and district!”

 Burke wishes to share the love and gratitude she has for her “work family.”

 Outside of work, Burke and her family are very active in sports and outdoor activities; from spending time with her animals to going boating to traveling to her children’s college games.

 Our next Mustang of the Month is Karie Sanzo, a teacher at Mount Markham Middle School.

 Karie Sanzo is a lifelong local to the area; born and raised in West Winfield, a Mount Markham CSD alumna, and a Mount Markham CSD teacher for 28 years. Sanzo received her undergraduate education at Le Moyne College and her graduate education at SUNY Cortland.

 Sanzo’s favorite aspect of the Mount Markham CSD community is the close-knit feeling and the dependability of her colleagues. For her students, Karie Sanzo extends that close-knit, inviting feeling.

 “I try to show patience and understanding to all of my students,” Sanzo said. “Through the years, I have encountered hundreds of students, and I would like to think I had an impact on them. My advice to anyone trying to improve themselves would be to always share a smile; you never know what someone may be dealing with, and a smile may change the way someone's day is going.”

 Several colleagues and students of Sanzo have expressed their appreciation for her patience, kindness and work ethic.

 “In all of my time working with her, it is evident that she is here for the children,” a colleague said. “Karie goes above and beyond to ensure that all of the students that she is responsible for working with have what they need to be successful in her classroom.”

 Many parents of Karie Sanzo’s students have also expressed their gratitude for her hard work and compassion for students.

 “Mrs. Sanzo goes above and beyond to help her students,” a parent said. “All three of my kids have had her. She is patient, kind and knows her content. Mrs. Sanzo will work with kids whenever it’s best for them.”

 Sanzo would like to extend her gratitude for being nominated and selected for Mustang of the Month.

 When she is not at Mount Markham, Sanzo enjoys reading, baking, crafting, painting, camping and spending time with family and friends.

 Our final Mustang of the Month for October is Diane Jones, a staff member at Mount Markham High School.

 Jones is a local to the area, growing up in Sauquoit and earning her degree at MVCC as a medical assistant. Before coming to Mount Markham CSD almost 20 years ago, Jones worked in various fields, bringing with her a wealth of experiences to share with our students and staff.

 Working closely with students, helping them be successful in reaching their goals, and supporting students in identifying their academic struggles and how to overcome them are Jones’s favorite parts about being in the Mount Markham CSD community.

 Many colleagues of Jones are grateful for the important role she plays in uplifting students.

 “Diane will work one-on-one or in groups with students at a slower pace to help them with homework, study for tests/quizzes or finish labs,” one colleague said. “In doing so, she helps some of our most struggling students understand concepts and achieve academic success that they haven't always experienced before. Diane is always more than happy to help any student with academics and with organizational practices to help students be better prepared for the school day (and school year)!”

 Crucial to her success has been Jones’s ability to connect and empathize with the students she works with.

 “I share my struggles from when I was a student,” Jones said. “It helps students understand that they are not alone and that someone understands. If you don’t like where you are, then change what you are doing.”

 Outside of work, Jones likes to spend time with family and friends, spoil her grandchildren and – when she has the time to get in her craft room – she makes her own cards.