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Meet the first class of substitutes in the Swing Sub Hall of Fame

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As part of its celebration of National Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week, Swing Education has announced the inductees into its Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame. The three educators — Valerie Aduba, Michael Packard, and Ralph Starace — were selected for their outstanding contributions to the students, teachers, and schools they serve. In its inaugural year, the Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame drew nominations from 20 states and Washington, D.C.

“We were blown away by all the inspiring nominations we received from students, parents, and fellow educators nationwide,” said Mike Teng, CEO of Swing Education. “The inaugural Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame class is a group of true rock stars who, like so many other substitute teachers, make a real difference in the classroom and the greater educational community day-in and day-out.”

The three inductees were chosen based on a number of factors, including their impact on students and the greater school community, going above and beyond, reliability, and more. The inductees will each receive a prize package that includes a $500 cash award, $250 for professional development or school supplies, and a commemorative plaque. They will also be profiled on the Swing Education website.

This year’s inductees are:

Valerie Aduba

Substitute teacher at multiple schools in Sacramento, CA

Nominations for Aduba highlighted her professionalism, reliability, and overall positive attitude in the classroom. “She has been the most reliable substitute I have had in my five years of teaching,” said Corryn Hamakawa, a teacher at Hazel Mahone College Prep. “She holds students accountable for their behavior, as well as follows through and builds relationships with parents.”

“Ms. V has been the most consistent sub, which is important when building a relationship with students,” added Asia Mapp, a teacher at Ephraim Williams College Prep.

Michael Packard,

Substitute teacher at The Renaissance Academy in Phoenixville, PA

Packard, who has taught for a decade-plus, is “an outstanding role model for our students,” said teacher Melissa Weidman, one of Packard’s colleagues at The Renaissance Academy. “He works so well with my students in the emotional support classroom, and they like him so much they ask for him to sub for the class even when I do not have to be out.”

Packard also supports students at The Renaissance Academy as a coach and by leading after-school activities like game and STEM clubs.

“We are lucky to have him in our building,” Weidman said.

Ralph Starace

Substitute teacher at Sussex County Technical School in Sparta, NJ

Starace, who has been substitute teaching for 23 years, is “a great example of how being a substitute teacher can be vitally important to both the substitute and the school community,” said Rich Rennie from the Sussex County Board Office.

In addition to his time in the classroom, Starace has assisted with the school’s SkillsUSA workforce program and has coached soccer, basketball, baseball, wrestling, and tennis during his tenure.

Rennie added, “During his time as a substitute, Ralph has become part of the fabric of the school, and has positively impacted the lives of thousands of students.”

To learn more about the Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame by Swing Education and this year’s winners, visit the Hall of Fame website.

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