The PBIS Leadership Team is proud to announce our Mustang of the Month award recipients for the month of January. Congratulations to Kristen Casale, Julie Sliski and Meghan Dickens!
Kristen Casale is a teacher at Mount Markham Elementary School and a native to the area, born and raised in West Winfield, NY and a 1991 alumna of Mount Markham CSD. After graduating from Mount Markham, Casale continued her education at SUNY Cortland, earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees there. Currently, Casale resides on a beef and hay farm with her husband Brian in Litchfield, NY.
Casale’s favorite part about working at Mount Markham CSD is the community itself.
“Mount Markham will always have a special place in my heart because this is where I grew up and went to school,” Casale said. “I love the people who are friendly and caring. The children are so curious and inquisitive! The town takes care of each other. It's a great community and a wonderful place to work!”
For Casale, the key to her success is being kind.
“I think you should care about every person you come in contact with,” Casale said. “I love working with the little ones to see the twinkle in their eyes when they learn something new and exciting. My advice would be to be kind, work hard and just be you!”
Kristen Casale practices what she preaches, and many students, staff and parents appreciate Casale for her kindness to others.
“She [Kristen Casale] has a bubbly personality and is always so nice,” one parent said. “She greets everyone with a ‘Hello’ and a smile!”
Outside of work, Casale enjoys camping, reading, snowmobiling, crafting and spending time with family and friends. Casale also enjoys watching and attending sporting events and serves as the scorekeeper for Mount Markham Varsity Field Hockey.
Julie Sliski is a teacher at Mount Markham Middle School and has been a part of the district for 18 years. Prior to coming to Mount Markham, Sliski attended Herkimer County Community College, SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Cortland, and taught several diverse groups of people, from pre-Kindergarteners to prisoners.
Sliski believes in two things that help her navigate life: kindness and mistakes.
“Kindness shows your true self and should be shown often,” Sliski said. “I also believe that mistakes happen multiple times a day and have a purpose. I make them and point them out to my students, so that they know I am human and that each time a mistake is made, learning happens.”
Julie Sliski is appreciated by her students for both her kindness and her talent as a teacher.
“Mrs. Sliski is super-duper nice,” one student said. “She doesn't get mad and is a great teacher! When she teaches math, she explains it better than anyone and I can understand every bit. I am encouraged to write in my notes when she teaches too.”
When she’s not at work, Sliski likes to travel, spend time with her grandchildren and family, hunt, ride motorcycles and bicycles, work at her family business "Sliski Service Co., Inc.” and play with her dogs.
Our final Mustang of the Month is Meghan Dickens, a social worker at Mount Markham High School. Dickens is a local to the area, originally hailing from Fly Creek, NY. Dickens earned her undergraduate degree at SUNY Geneseo and received her Master of Social Work at Binghamton University. Prior to coming to Mount Markham, Dickens worked as a school social worker for Corning-Painted Post Area School District and as a therapist in a mental health clinic.
Meghan Dickens is a strong advocate for mental health, especially for teenagers, and enjoys actively fostering an environment where students feel supported and understood.
“I truly believe that building relationships is at the center of all that we do,” Dickens said. “I hope that students see me as a caring, trusted, reliable support in their lives.”
Many of Dickens’ colleagues have noted her compassion and commitment to the students of Mount Markham High School.
“Meghan is a fierce advocate for our students and always goes above and beyond in helping students to navigate their way through social, emotional and academic challenges,” one Mount Markham CSD employee said.
In her free time, Dickens enjoys hiking, camping, running, reading and spending time with friends and family, including her two young children.