Periodically Fallsburg Central School District school and community members will recommend a staff member or teacher for a prestigious STAR Award. The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ivan Katz, presents the Board of Education with his recommendation for someone who has “gone above and beyond and made a difference in the school community.”
On the Board Meeting of December 5, 2018, Dr. Katz and the BOE were delighted to present Ms. Leah Exner with the STAR Award. Ms. Exner was nominated for the STAR award by Board of Education Member, Arlene Hussey. Ms. Hussey recommended Ms. Exner because for the past two years the now first grade teacher at Benjamin Cosor Elementary has been working tirelessly to complete and open a mile long hiking trail behind the school building. The idea began as a dream to restore an overgrown and “virtually lost” trail begun many years ago by Ms. Exner’s predecessors.
She would honor these teachers by writing a Sullivan Renaissance Healthy Communities Initiatives Grant along with fellow teacher Mark Spina in 2016. She followed this up with other successful grant applications and in-kind donations of materials, equipment and labor from dozens of local businesses, government agencies, and individuals to bring her dream to fruition.
But the true service that earned a special award for Ms. Exner is her love, dedication and countless hours of hands-on hard work. Directly supported by her family, with husband Paul spending hours on back-hoes and other machines, with her children and her mother-in-law volunteering their services, Leah Exner was on the work site morning, evening and weekends no matter what the weather.
Ms. Exner has earned applause from local, county and state officials. She always wants to acknowledge all the others that made the trail a reality, and she deflects any recognition. On December 5, she looked very happy to receive this acknowledgement from the people that administer the school district that she has served for so many years with all her heart.