• Award of Excellence Winners

    Kimberly L. Clarke
    10th and Green Elementary
    Kimberly L. Clarke is a 1988 graduate of Reading High School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Millersville University and her ESL Certification from Penn State University. She began her professional career in banking where she earned the position of Branch Manager.  Inspired by educators Tyna Key, Laverne Starks and the late Anna J. Miller, she realized her heart was in education.  Presently, Kimberly teaches ESL Kindergarten at 10th & Green Elementary School and serves as Kindergarten team leader.  She is a mentor-teacher who has trained several student teachers. Kimberly gets fulfillment by giving back to the community (who has given so much to her) and the children of Reading. Teaching in the district she grew up has been a dream come true for her. Kimberly is #RSDproud. In 2016, Kimberly was awarded the Central Pennsylvania African American Award of Achievement, and she was also chosen to represent the Kindergarten team during a recent visit from Governor Wolf. In 2000, Kimberly fell in love with and married her soul mate, Gregory A. Clarke.  They are blessed with three daughters; Teressa, Giani and Kymari Clarke. Kimberly loves to travel, read, and spend quality time with family and friends.  She models herself by these words “A good education can change anyone.  A good teacher can change everything.

    Ryan Contento
    Special Education Teacher
    Northeast Middle School
    Ryan Contento graduated from Neshaminy High School in Lower Bucks County in 2002 and from Kutztown University in 2006 with bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After working for the Reading Fightin' Phils sales office for four seasons, he returned to school and completed a post-bachelor certification program at Alvernia University in 2012. He earned certificates in Elementary and Special Education. He currently teaches 6th-7th grade Autistic Support at Northeast Middle School. His classroom is part of the Autism Initiative through PaTTAN. He loves teaching in an AS classroom because he feels as if he truly make a difference in his students' lives while teaching them basic life and academic skills that they will use on a daily basis. He sees something amazing from at least one of his students every day. Ryan lives in Birdsboro with his wife, Sheila, 8-month old daughter, Taylin, and family dog, Trotter. He also coaches offensive line, defensive line and strength and conditioning for the Daniel Boone High School football team. He enjoys weight lifting, playing football, reading and being outdoors.

    Norma Espada
    Parent Outreach Assistant
    13th and Union Elementary
    Norma Espada is the Parent Outreach Assistant at 13th and Union Elementary School. She assists with parent engagement activities and translation services. She loves her job because it was always her dream to help others, particularly those who cannot speak English. She has traveled on several mission trips to help the less fortunate. Working for Reading School District and especially 13th and Union Elementary has given her an opportunity to accomplish her goals. Most recently, she had an opportunity to be the facilitator for Abriendo Puertas, a program that parents understand the value of education and how they advocated for themselves, their children and their families. She recently earned her certification in English Forward and is preparing to teacher ESL classes. She loves her coworkers, including Principal Brown and Assistant Principal Weitzel. She believes when she puts God first, she can come to work with a smile on her face no matter how she might feel. She knows there will be someone who will need her assistance in some way, and helping is what her job is all about.

    John Kaszmetskie

    12th and Marion Elementary
    John Kaszmetskie grew up in Birdsboro and attended Twin Valley High School.  He then attended RACC, where he earned his Associate’s Degree.  Graduating in 2001 from Millersville University, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Education.  Following Millersville, he worked in several small jobs before being employed by the Reading School District.  During his 14-year career he has taught 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade and attributes all of his successes to the outstanding faculty he has worked with, and to his wife, Tiffany.  John has been married to Tiffany for 12 years, and they have two beautiful boys, Nicholas and Jacob.  During his free time, he enjoys gardening, day trips to the beach, and pounding the pavement with his running club.  He is extremely grateful for all the students he’s had the pleasure teaching, and for his family and friends and all their support. 

    Leslie Phillips
    Glenside Elementary
    Leslie Phillips is a proud graduate of Reading High School, Class of 1978.  While attending Bloomsburg State University, she became involved with the Special Olympics program and that was it. She was hooked on helping students.  She earned her degree in Special Education in 1982 from Bloomsburg. That same year, she was lucky enough to be hired by the Reading School District as a teacher at the Reading Education Center.  After two years, she was transferred to Glenside Elementary School, where she currently works. She has worked with Reading School District for 32 years.

    Meggan Shobe
    Lauer's Park Elementary
    Meggan Shobe was born and raised in Berks County. She found her love of working with Reading’s youth at age 15, while working as a lifeguard at Schlegel Park Pool. She began her advanced education at Reading Area Community College and received an associate degree in Early Childhood Management. She then transferred to Alvernia University, where she graduated with dual majors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. After graduation, she began her career at Lauer’s Park Elementary, where she has been teaching for the past seven years. After her first year teaching, she started at Cabrini College, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Education. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her amazing family and friends, and most importantly her loving husband of 10 years. She is most happy when she is staying active, like training for and competing in triathlons. Her goal in life, like so many other of her beloved colleagues, is to make a real difference in students’ lives by connecting with them in and out of the classroom. She hopes to use everything God has blessed her with to change children’s lives and help them realize their amazing potential.

    Gary Smith
    Millmont Elementary
    Gary Smith has exclusively ​taught 5th grade to students of the 18th Ward since January of 1996.  He worked at Thomas Ford Elementary School until its closure and has since worked with the merged populations of Thomas Ford and Millmont Elementary School at Millmont.  In addition to teaching 5th grade, he also enjoys supervising extracurricular clubs such as archaeology (focusing on the remains of the Welsh Meeting House behind Thomas Ford Elementary), rocketry, and a computer coding club.