Patricia Benninger, Kathy Keane, Michael Rydell

Kathleen Keane, a devoted teacher in the Marlboro Central School District (MCSD), has received the Ulster County School Boards Association (UCSBA) Distinguished Friend of Education Award. “The annual award recognizes individuals who lead with their heart and help to build a brighter future for Ulster County students,” said Ulster BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Jonah Schenker. 

These champions of education include educators, business leaders, volunteers, advocates, and community members who willingly take the time to build relationships and establish trust within our local schools, knowing that what they invest in students in turn strengthens their families, their communities, and ultimately the world around them.

MCSD Board of Education Vice President Patricia Benninger presented the award to Keane at the UCSBA’s annual dinner on May 25 at the Best Western in Kingston.

Keane clearly teaches from the heart, and her creativity inspires students to get excited to learn math. The students call her “Mama Keane,” and she often stays after school for those who need extra help.

For the past 15 years, Keane has led fundraising efforts to help community members who are coping with cancer-related illnesses. In addition, she and her daughter spearheaded a literacy book drive through two local libraries. Their fundraising efforts enabled them to stock the libraries with more than 400 new books.

She has a bright and positive energy and is an amazing role model for our students and faculty. She goes above and beyond the call of duty and is an extraordinary ambassador who exemplifies the school district’s mission.

Schenker is full of praise for this year’s honorees. “We honor those who have made a difference in our youth, because after all, doesn’t every child deserve a champion?” he said.

Keane’s fellow honorees are: Franceska Elias, Ellenville Central School District; Holly Brooker, Highland Central School District; Ann Bauch, Kingston City School District; Gregory Warren, New Paltz Central School District; Marcia Panza, Onteora Central School District; Jessica Riozzi, Saugerties Central School District; Robert Riley, Wallkill Central School District; and Frank Falatyn, Ulster BOCES.