Suzanne Gorman Messina, M.Ed.


Goman Messina, Suzanne

Business Teacher
Core Team Leader, Business Education Programs
Broome-Tioga County BOCES Alternative Sites
Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services
Binghamton, NY, USA
Industry: Education
Field: Business Education

“I am always looking for a better way to share information with students, a better way to teach,” says Suzanne Gorman Messina, who has served as an educator for the past three decades. This philosophy, along with her patience, drive and zeal for the profession has made her successful. “I want everyone to feel good about what they are learning.” For the last 20 years, Ms. Gorman Messina has been a valuable asset to the Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services, where she teaches students who have transferred from other districts because they need more one-on-one instruction or need to work in smaller groups. It is in this vocational alternative school environment where she is able to make them feel comfortable, thus giving them a better chance to learn.

In addition to her stint as a business teacher, Ms. Gorman Messina serves as a team leader for business education programs for Broome-Tioga County BOCES Alternative Sites. On a daily basis, she is charged with teaching employability and professional skills to ninth- and 10th-grade students, preparing them for a successful entry into the world of work. She also oversees the career cluster program, career and financial management, career skills, and job preparation and procedures. Although her primary concern is seeing her students thrive, she states, “education isn’t just about teaching students, it’s about helping other teachers learn what we can use to relate more to the technology-oriented student in today’s society.”

Ms. Gorman Messina doesn’t plan to stop learning and believes that 85 percent of what is taught to the learner is retained by the instructor. A graduate of The Citadel School of Education with a Master of Education in Counselor Education, she also holds certification in guidance counseling and business education. She is a former member of the Broome County Legislature, and is the secretary of the Broome County Democratic Executive Committee, and the vice president of the Broome County Ladies’ Ancient Order of Hibernians. She also serves as a Broome County Medical Reserve Corps volunteer.

In addition to her time spent educating the next generation, she has been active in the Democratic Party for more than 20 years and is very involved within her community. As an educator for 33 years and a former Broome County legislator, she credits her successful career to the support she received from her husband, her parents, and in particular, to the inspiration she receives from her mother, a lifelong politician. In the coming years, she aims to experience continued growth within the employability program and remain active with the local government. Continue reading

Janis Sparks


Sparks, Janis 645854Principal (Retired)
Napa Valley Unified School District
Industry: Education
Field: Educational Administration

Sitting at her desk in elementary school, Janis Sparks decided that she wanted to become a teacher. While learning about Albert Schweitzer, she found great inspiration in his words, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” His reverence for life as the foundation of ethics became embedded in her, along with her determination to serve others through teaching. Spending nearly 40 years in the field of education, she accomplished her goal and more. As the former principal of Donaldson Way Elementary School of the Napa Valley Unified School District, Ms. Sparks dedicated her time to developing a professional learning community, where not only the students learned, but the teachers and administrators were pupils as well as they sought out best teaching practices and then implemented these practices schoolwide.

A recent retiree, Ms. Sparks served as both an educator and an administrator during her 38-year career. She always believed that education should address not only academics, but also the development of character and wisdom. To that end, she would educate students on the required subjects, but also teach them how to become caring individuals and good citizens. In fact, she was given the Community Leadership and Service Award by the state of California. Gifted in multitasking, she managed all functions of the Donaldson Way Elementary School, which held 650 students and 60 employees. She was charged with teacher training and evaluation, program design and implementation, and curriculum development. She holds certifications in elementary education, educational administration, and leadership via the California State Leadership Academy, and Reading Recovery for students who struggle with learning how to read. Ms. Sparks viewed every day as a great gift and an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, and attributes her success to her listening and conflict resolution skills, and ability to judge when to lead or follow.

Ms. Sparks earned a degree from California State University, Fresno, graduating with highest honors. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in French and English, she holds a master’s degree in early childhood education from California State University, San Francisco. She loves to travel, and during her college years, she studied abroad at the Aix-Marseille University in France and visits the country again now that she is retired. She also aspires to become involved in consulting and professional writing as time progresses. Continue reading