"When schools recognize that emotions drive much of how and what we learn, students and educators flourish.” 

Marc A. Brackett, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

TRUMBULL, Conn.—(July 15, 2019)—In its July/August edition, District Administration magazine honors 34 school districts as “Districts of Distinction” across the nation. The Verona Public School district was recognized as an innovative district in DA’s annual awards program. This is the ninth round of honorees for this national recognition program, which began in November 2014. 

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The Verona Public School district has been recognized for its transformative community partnership and efforts on “Why Mental Health Matters,” in which community action teams focused on mental health and suicide prevention using a full range of shared educational programs, therapeutic mental health services, and communication resources to support social-emotional learning through a commitment to overall health and wellness. The district pledge to this endeavor is centered on both proactive educational measures and coordinated, strategic school planning to ensure a social, emotional and physically safe learning environment for students. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rui Dionisio shared, "We are eternally grateful to all of our community stakeholders for their dedication and partnership. With their support and insight, these opportunities are now possible to create a better tomorrow for our students."


Districts of Distinction was established by District Administration magazine to honor school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that address challenges. Honorees are selected based on quantifiable results and the replicability of their initiatives. The July 2019 Districts of Distinction honorees were selected by the magazine’s editors from numerous nominations.


The 34 school systems from 19 states honored in this round have launched programs that range from partnering with outside organizations for career training to improving literacy to using music to support at-risk students and English language learners. 


“These districts have developed innovative programs to support students in their education and well beyond the classroom,” says JD Solomon, editorial director of District Administration magazine. “We hope our readers are inspired by the efforts of these honorees to create successful initiatives in their own districts.”


To view a full list of the 2019 honorees visit districtadministration.com/dod 






Rui Dionisio, Superintendent of Schools       

Robert Merkler, Director of Athletics

Charlie Miller, Director of CIA


Michele Bernardino, VBOE Member  

Kim Ferlauto, VHS Director of Counseling

Rosanne Bornstein

Josh Cogdill, VHS Principal

Scott Chesney, Community Member 

Dave Galbierczyk, HBW Principal

Joe Bellino, Community Member

Anthony Lanzo, FNB Principal

Joann Theobald, Community Member               

Frank Mauriello, Director of Special Services

Lisa Freschi, VBOE Member 

Harriette Warshaw, HBW Counselor

Dana Lustig, VHS SAC

Tom Lancaster, VHS Assistant Principal

Virginia Citrano, Community Member 

Yvette McNeal, HBW Principal

Rev. Jerry Racioppi, Church of the Holy Spirit 

Nicole Stuto, BRK Principal

Beth Smillie, Community Member 

Howard Freund, LNG Principal

Suzanne Broullon, Community Member 

Terry Shapiro, VHS School Psychologist

Marcos Bermeo, Community Member 

About District Administration District Administration, part of LRP Media Group, provides K-12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute. For more information, visit districtadministration.com

Learn more about the Verona Public Schools by reading stories on the amazing people, programs, and community by clicking the following link: Verona Public Schools Magazine 2018