April 11, 2011
St. John’s University honored five local educators at its Sixth
Annual Leaders in Education Awards Dinner on the Staten Island
campus. This yearly event celebrates alumni and friends who have
made significant contributions to the field of Education.
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“It’s so special to be recognized by my alma mater tonight,”
said Dr. Thomas W. Matteo ’76GEd, ’85Ed.D, one of the honorees. Dr.
Matteo currently works as an Associate Professor of Business at St.
Peter’s College and also serves as the Borough Historian of Staten
Island, writing a weekly history column in the Staten Island
Advance. His wife, Diane Matteo ’73NDC, is the President of the
Staten Island Reading Association and also received an award at the
is made all the more unique by the fact that my wife is being
honored along with me,” Dr. Matteo said. “The courses we took at
St. John’s provided us with the background and skills we needed to
have rewarding careers.”
Nick Legakis ’97SVC, ’07MPS, Director of Institutional
Advancement for the Staten Island campus, delivered the opening
“The reason we are all here tonight is to honor those who have
been leaders in education and in our community,” he said. “Tonight,
our honorees have done just that and have lived the mission of the
The dinner also honored Angela T. Ferrando ’81GEd, the current
Principal of St. Joseph Hill Academy High School and Adjunct
Professor of Chemistry at St. John’s University.
wanted to become a teacher,” she recalled. “It’s my life. My mother
is the one who encouraged me to follow my dreams, and I know she is
here with me in spirit tonight.”
The other honorees included Aurelia Curtis, Principal of Curtis
High School, and Gary Giordano ’84CBA, ’87MBA, Principal of Susan
Wagner High School.
“This award is extra special because it came from St. John’s,”
Giordano said. “It’s a tremendous feeling and honor, and, most
importantly, I get to share this with a really great staff!”
Jerrold Ross, Ph.D., Academic Vice President for the Staten
Island campus of St. John’s University, found the dinner to be a
terrific celebration of the field of Education.
“There are critics of the school system who make news all the
time,” Ross noted. “Dinners like this spread the good news about
Education, and you could hear it clearly from our honorees. They
spoke of their dedication to teaching and their devotion to young
minds despite the pressures in their own lives. They still commit
their time and effort to creating great schools.”