2013 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Special Education Teacher
Nassau BOCES Career Preparatory High School
Renee Tarzia has been a teacher at the Career Preparatory High School for the past nine years. The school serves a unique population of special education students whose needs cannot be met in their home schools for a variety of reasons. She works closely with these students to challenge them academically, build their self-esteem, improve their social skills and make them career ready.
A typical day for Tarzia does not include breaks or prep time. She is always with her students in some capacity and takes on several different roles throughout the day, not the least of which is counselor. She takes time to talk with them, help them figure things out and get them back on track. The program is an intimate one, and her students inevitably come to think of their school as a family, and to develop close interpersonal relationships with one another and the staff.
Tarzia is an educational innovator who is open to new approaches, and eager to implement new tools and alternative instructional methods. She collaborated with her colleagues to create the career planning course, which students use as a 'reference guide" throughout the year. She facilitates a unique job readiness program at Hofstra University, where students participate in work-study and internship programs, exploring transitional goals and receiving practical, real-world job training.
"Renee Tarzia is a role model for her colleagues and students alike," wrote her Education Partner Award nominator. "She accentuates her students' strengths and helps them to improve their weaknesses. Ms. Tarzia has high expectations for each of her students and empowers them to exemplary performance. Her honesty, dependability, hard work and commitment make her a standout in the field of education."
"I truly believe that all of my students have tremendous potential to succeed," said Tarzia. "I see it as my duty to explore every possible avenue to relate to each child. There is not an evening that I do not reflect upon my day and think about what I can do better tomorrow."