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Connecticut State Department of Education News


Hartford's Marisol Rodriguez Named Connecticut's 2019 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year

(HARTFORD, CT) — Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell, joined by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Hartford Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, and other officials, today visited E.B. Kennelly School to announce that Marisol Rodriguez has been named Connecticut’s 2019 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year. Ms. Rodriguez began working as a preschool paraeducator at Batchelder School and is now a paraeducator at E.B. Kennelly School.

The Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Program recognizes the important role paraeducators play in supporting student achievement. In March 2013, CSDE and the School Paraprofessional Advisory Council renamed the Connecticut Paraeducator of the Year Award to the Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Award in honor of Anne Marie Murphy, a special education paraprofessional who lost her life during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. The program honors one paraeducator who has demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication in his or her role, thereby earning the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, coworkers, and parents. Paraeducators assist certified teachers in the classroom and play an integral role in developing students’ academic, social, and emotional skills.

“Congratulations to Marisol Rodriguez for receiving the 2019 Paraeducator of the Year award,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “Paraeducators play a vital role in our classrooms and are an important source of support for students and teachers. We are proud to recognize Mrs. Rodriguez for this well-deserved honor, and applaud her for her exceptional work and unwavering commitment to her students’ education and her community.” 

“Paraeducators play an important role in creating safe, supportive learning environments that engage students and encourage them to develop a lifelong love of learning and realize their full potential in school and life,” said Commissioner Wentzell. “Mrs. Rodriguez’s dedication and contributions to her students’ success over the last twenty-three years have and will continue to inspire them to achieve and pursue their dreams. Congratulations to Mrs. Rodriguez on receiving this honor.”

“We are fortunate and very proud to have Marisol Rodriguez in our district. Paraeducators go above and beyond, making sure our students who face the toughest challenges are cared for and learning. The extra dedication and devotion Ms. Rodriguez shares with our children deserves special recognition,” remarked HPS Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez.

The rigorous selection process for Paraeducator of the Year, which includes candidate applications and interviews, was conducted by representatives of the School Paraprofessional Advisory Council, which is composed of former state Paraeducators of the Year, and representatives from educational organizations and collective bargaining. Connecticut’s Paraeducator of the Year is selected from approximately 14,000 public school paraeducators in the state and represents the profession in forums and advisory committees influencing education policy and public awareness of the successes that take place daily in schools, as well as the challenges they face.

Mrs. Rodriguez began her career as a paraeducator twenty-three years ago after enrolling the oldest of three children into the preschool program at Batchelder School. The Teacher was warm and supportive and quickly invited her to become a volunteer, working within her daughter’s classroom. It became apparent to her the positive impact that the teacher and the support staff had and the way it affected children’s academic and social achievement.  Mrs. Rodriguez realized that her passion was in working in a school and being the first to touch the lives of preschoolers and giving them the most positive experience possible to begin their educational journey. Mrs. Rodriguez was fortunate to have outstanding fellow teachers and paraeducators who became role models and mentors to her as she first pursued obtaining a high school diploma.  The diploma enabled her to begin her career in the Hartford Public Schools as a paraeducator where she has joyously enriched the lives of the countless preschoolers who have been in her classroom.

Mrs. Rodriguez was born and raised in Hartford and is a product of the Hartford school system and lives with her husband of 30 years Jaime in East Hartford. She proudly has raised three daughters Michelle, Monica and Yelissa, and is the proud grandmother of four grandchildren, who are the apples of her eye.

Mrs. Rodriguez’s “quest for education did not stop” as she graduated with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Charter Oak College at the age of 45.  It is her firm belief that each person’s educational journey never stops.  As educators, we need to be current with the strategies and instructional practices that best support the varied needs of our students.  As Connecticut’s Ann-Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the year, her message to paraeducators is simple; that as educators we too need to be role models for our students and families to showcase how lifelong learning benefits everyone and leads to richer, more fulfilled lives and career opportunities.
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Peter Yazbak
Communications Director