2018 Friend of Education: “Miss Geraldine”

CASDA recognizes Geraldine Ferris for service to Watervliet students and school community

Geraldine Ferris, Outreach Coordinator for the Watervliet City School District, received a Friend of Education Award from the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) in February. CASDA presented this award during its annual Friends of Education Dinner to recognize the contributions of individuals who dedicate themselves to serving students and the school community.

Known simply as “Miss Geraldine,” she serves as a vital link between the school and the community. Through her work with the Universal Pre-K program, she forges strong bonds with Watervliet’s youngest students and their families.

As Outreach Coordinator, Mrs. Ferris helps organize the Food is Fuel Program that sends backpacks of food home with students each Friday to ensure they have enough to eat over the weekend. She also spearheaded the Cannoneer Closet, a collection of gently used or new apparel that makes sure elementary children have appropriate clothing to wear based on seasonal weather conditions.

From coordinating the planting and care of the elementary school’s new garden last spring to delivering Thanksgiving baskets to families in the fall ensuring they have a holiday meal, and collecting a multitude of gifts for children during the holiday season, Miss Geraldine’s generosity knows no bounds. She is always ready and willing to assist with student-centered endeavors, such as UPK-6 interactive math nights. Likewise, Mrs. Ferris has been instrumental in securing Traveling Museum presentations and Artist- in-Residence programs.

“Geraldine is someone who every student knows they can get a hug from when they are having one of those days; someone who every parent knows they can go to for help; and someone who every staff member knows they can count on,” said Director of Literacy and Universal Pre-Kindergarten Don Stevens. “She is a team player that goes above and beyond to create a learning environment that’s conducive for teaching and learning and most importantly … fun!”

Mrs. Ferris is a tireless advocate for pre-school students with disabilities, regularly helping parents with paperwork, special education meetings and coordination with outside agencies.

In nominating Mrs. Ferris for the award, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lori Caplan wrote: “Geraldine is a one person support system for parents and a champion and advocate for children of all ages … She is undoubtedly a deserving Friend of Education.”