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Staff Say Farewell to the Nest
June 20, 2023
The close of any school brings with it changes in many lives. Underclassmen move on to higher grades, seniors leave school into the post-graduation world, and staff members begin new chapters in retirement. This year, three current and one former EHS faculty are saying goodbye.
Ms. Patti Jaworski, physical education teacher, reminisces about the unforgettable moments of her career during her last days at Edison High School. While she enjoyed the daily interactions with students and friendly conversations with coworkers, Jaworski looks forward to opening a new chapter in her life.
At the beginning of her career, Jaworski strictly taught physical education. However, after exploring Junior Health, Jaworski decided to teach both subjects, giving her a more comprehensive experience at EHS. She continued along this path for fifteen years, bringing her closer to the subjects and her students.
Given the range of experiences available at EHS, Jaworski places a great priority on her relationships with coworkers and students. She attests to creating meaningful bonds, as she maintained connections with students after graduation and her “colleagues, many of whom have become good friends.” Jaworski prides herself on her authenticity and fairness, allowing her to stay true to herself while becoming closer to those around her.
Despite the variety of activities awaiting her, Jaworski holds one memory in high value. Along with Mr. Rich Adams, a former EHS security guard, she played an important role in naming the school’s larger gymnasium after former Principal Mr. Frank N. Cangelosi.
While her post-retirement plans are not definite, Jaworski keeps an optimistic attitude and open mind.
“I may, at some point, look to do something working with the elderly. I miss the old people in my life and feel they have a lot of wisdom to share,” she said. Jaworski also looks forward to exploring Southern Ocean County, where she lives with her wife, and spending time at the beach.
Ms. Sandra Ledda has been a part of the Edison High community for eighteen years. For ten years, she taught consumer science classes due to her background in restaurant management. For the final eight years of her career, she has been teaching the fashion classes.
Ledda has always had a passion for fashion, which she pursued through costume design in college. Additionally, she also dabbled in other areas of fashion before she began her teaching career, giving her the experience she needed to help her students advance in the field.
Although her time as a teacher may be coming to an end, her work in the fashion field will not. She intends to work with her community theater and design costumes, and she hopes to do the same with opera guilds.
Despite Ledda’s excitement for her post-retirement plans, she will miss seeing her students everyday and sharing her love of fashion with them.
“I will miss the kids,” she said. “I love teaching, and this subject is something that I hold very dear. It brought a lot of pleasure to me to teach students something that I know. And I have very good students, so it’s just been a pleasure.”
Spanning thirty-eight years, Chief Academic Officer Ms. Gail Pawlikowski’s career working with the Edison Board of Education is coming to an end. Pawlikowski has been in the district for all but two years of her entire career. Starting off at Herbert Hoover as a teacher, she grew into the role of Assistant Principal here at EHS and soon advanced as the Principal at JP Stevens. For the past few years, Pawlikowski has filled the role of Chief Academic Officer for the Edison Board of Education.
Besides her professional growth, Pawlikowski appreciates the opportunities and collaboration that has emerged during her time here. From moments of learning from others to recognizing and addressing the needs of the district, she has been significantly involved in finding new ways to grow. In addition, Pawlikowski values the togetherness of events like staff development, workshops, and meetings as an experience to learn.
“I’ve learned so much from every experience. That’s why I never left Edison, and that’s why I encourage people to join Edison now because I see the opportunities here for growth,” she said.
With so much experience in the learning environment, Pawlikowski has come to prioritize the students and improve their quality of education. The importance of education has been a theme she has stuck to throughout her career and a legacy she hopes to leave behind.
“I have always valued education. And I do believe that most of the people in the district value education and we focus on students,” she said. She also acknowledges the opportunity of learning from students, just as students have learned from her.
“That’s how we stay current and interesting for kids and help them be successful. That’s what it’s all about: to make sure students live productive, healthy, happy lives,” said Pawlikowski. Beyond pushing for the content of instruction, she pushes for a meaningful connection between students and administrators. These connections, along with the Edison school community that include the staff, paraprofessionals, security, custodian, students, and teachers, fulfilled her with their excitement and passion for education.
An 1985 Edison High School graduate and a secretary for twenty years, Mrs. Christine Vardaro dedicated many years to her life as an Eagle. Starting off as the secretary of the Child Study Team in 2003, Vardaro recently moved to the main office where she has played an integral role in the school’s organization.
“I will definitely miss the people I’ve worked with over the years and many of the students, too,” said Vardaro.
In addition, she has come to excel in staying coordinated and efficient, which she recognizes was an important yet challenging part of her job as a secretary. She has learned that the most important thing to remember is to stay patient with others and be an attentive listener.
Making her transition away from being a long-time Eagle, Vardaro is excited to explore around the world with her husband as well as spend more quality time with her family and friends.
“I’m also looking forward to a little extra sleep and taking more yoga classes than I do now,” she said.