In Celebration of the Class of 2023
Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 congratulates the Class of 2023 for their perseverance, resiliency, and motivation to succeed. Several recognition ceremonies were held to honor the young adults graduating from various CIU 20 programs and initiatives. Following are highlights of the celebrations.
Colonial IU 20 Graduation Ceremony
On May 25, 2023, graduating students from special education classrooms in Northampton and Monroe counties celebrated their accomplishments from their time in CIU 20 programs. The ceremony was held at Colonial Academy in Wind Gap, PA. Ms. Kasey Kinney, Supervisor of Special Education, Dr. Jackie Bartek, Assistant to the Executive Director for Student Services, and Dr. Christopher Wolfel, Executive Director, presided over this year's ceremony.
Atiya Jackson, Wilson Area School District, gave the student address.
Rickye Rodriguez, Wilson Area School District, recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Each graduate received a certificate of participation from CIU 20 and representatives from each of the ten districts were at the ceremony to present graduates with their district diplomas. Graduates also had the opportunity to participate in their home school district’s ceremony.
Bethlehem Area School District
Jose Adorno
Meghan Diane Musselman
Luzomairy Rivera-Anaya

East Stroudsburg Area School District
Melissa A. Baranow
Louanna F. Ortiz
Evan Charles Reyes
Jared Antonio Reyes
John C. Robinson

Easton Area School District
Gianna Marie Eismont
Kathryn Sobol
Pranav R. Soodini

Northampton Area School District
Tessa Darabaris
Caleb Markle
Anthony R. Marrone

Pleasant Valley School District
Ashley Ann Brong

Pocono Mountain School District
Mahina Atchison-Owens
Brittany Kae Schaeffer
Solomon J. Younger

Wilson Area School District
Jennifer Irani
Atiya Jackson
Rickye Rodriguez
Colonial Academy Senior Recognition Day
On May 26, 2023, Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 recognized thirty-seven students who attend Colonial Academy and graduated this spring from their respective school districts in Northampton and Monroe counties.

The entire staff of Colonial Academy and Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 wish these graduates success in their future endeavors.
Bangor Area School District
Daniel Kuhne
Rory Lubold

Bethlehem Area School District
Reilly Lindsey
Rubi Tilli
Natalie Maurer
Dylan Muller

East Stroudsburg Area School District
Joshua Young
Christopher Rodriguez
Isaiah Garcia
Dylan Klapak
Jason Matthews
Alex Pino
Evan Reyes

Easton Area School District
Nathaniel Bezick
Mason Boyd
DaMarco Franklin
Nathaniel Gayle
Michael Marshall

Nazareth Area School District
Damon Philipovich
Northampton Area School District
Erick Cruz-Sanchez
Tessa Darabaris
Anthony Marrone

Pen Argyl Area School District
Ahsir Pulyado
Aidan Seitter

Pleasant Valley School District
Devin Paradise
Joshua Philp
Nicolle Coronado

Pocono Mountain School District
Andreas Glaus
Edward Lewis
Raphael Parsons
Daniel Sommo

Stroudsburg Area School District
Anthony Magalhaes
Kaleigh Jayne Swisher
Jeffrey Tomko
Alejandro Vega
Zeph Allen

Wilson Area School District
Ishmeal Muhammad
Project SEARCH Graduation Ceremony
On June 8, 2023, seven students were celebrated for completing their Project SEARCH internship, an innovative program in partnership with Kalahari Resorts in Pocono Manor. Project SEARCH is a one year training program for young adults with disabilities to gain work experience and obtain competitive employment in their communities.
Ms. Jennifer Jones Baur, Coordinator of Transition Services, presided over the ceremony and each graduate shared what they learned in their internships to the audience that included families, Kalahari representatives, district representatives, CIU 20 representatives, and other local and state agencies.
East Stroudsburg Area School District
Desire Correa
Angel Clarke

Northampton Area School District
Jared Filchner
Pocono Mountain School District
Faith Williams
Heaven Holloway

Stroudsburg Area School District
Emily Baker
Daniel Sessoms
Staff Spotlight: Mason Messinger
Dedicated Teacher / Project SEARCH Instructor
Mr. Mason Messinger is currently a teacher in the Life Skills Support program, serving as the Project SEARCH instructor at Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos for the last seven years. His tenure at CIU 20 spans twenty years and includes previous stints as a job coach and Partial Hospitalization Teacher. This fall, he will be teaching the first group of interns at the new Project SEARCH location at Wind Creek Resort in Bethlehem.
Mr. Messinger has this to say about his new role, "I'm very excited about having a Project SEARCH program at Wind Creek Bethlehem to best meet our districts, students and families in Northampton County! It's been a long time coming, but it will be great to see students hopefully transition to a higher level of independence and replicate the success of the Kalahari location."
When asked what the most rewarding aspect of his role at the IU is, Mason points to the work he has done with the Project SEARCH program, "We focus entirely on competitive employment opportunities for our students and it's super rewarding seeing young adults obtaining employment and are still working many years later." He references relationship building as a key factor to his ability to help students maximize their potential, "We all know connecting with some students can be a challenge, but I've realized over the years the more you can show interest in what's going on in their lives, the greater the chance they will listen to the feedback you will give them down the road."

Mason's advice for a new employee starting out at the IU is "Keep growing and developing. There's no greater learning curve than on the job training and everything that they can't teach you in school. Some days/years are definitely challenging, but the better you can bond/connect with your co-workers the more you will grow." 
Regional Literacy Symposium Held
On June 13, 2023, Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 hosted the annual Literacy Symposium at DeSales University. The theme for this year was “Tying It All Together...Structured Literacy in Today’s Schools!” and featured keynote speaker Joan Sedita, a renowned author and founder of Keys to Literacy, a literacy professional development organization.
Nearly 200 regional educators attended the event that included breakout sessions facilitated by CIU 20 Professional Learning Department representatives and numerous member district and higher ed partners, including: Bethlehem Area SD, East Stroudsburg University, Lehigh University, Pen Argyl Area SD, Pocono Mountain SD, Stroudsburg Area SD and Wilson Area SD.
Junior Tech Leaders Facilitate Session at International Conference
A group of students from the CIU 20 Junior Technology Leaders program facilitated a poster session at The International Society for Technology in Education Conference on June 27, 2023 in Philadelphia. This was the culmination of the year-long program where students work collaboratively with their advisor and school administrators to grow capacity for technology integration in their schools, particularly in the areas of: leadership, emerging technologies, coding, project-based learning, collaboration, creativity and presentation skills.
In Recognition of CIU 20 Retirees
The CIU 20 leadership team thanks the dedicated individuals who retired this year for their years serving our IU 20 family and public education.
Sharon Amerman, Driver, 23.5 years at IU / 23.75 years total
Hans Baltzersen, Asst to the Executive Director, 30 years at IU / 30 years total
Marta Berrios, Driver, 23 years at IU / 23 years total
Deborah Brett, Teacher, 29 years at IU / 29 years total
Wendy Byrne, Associate Teacher, 15 years at IU / 19 years total
Darlene Coleman, Associate Teacher, 20 years at IU / 18.5 years total
Annette Cunerd, Associate Teacher, 3 years at IU / 3 years total
Mary Dubberly, Transition Coach, 5 years at IU / 5 years total
Debra Everett, Associate Specialist, 27 years at IU / 27 years total
Linda Fulmer, Associate Specialist, 28 years at IU / 28 years total
Kelly Giannetto, Administrator, 22 years at IU / 28 years total
Theresa Hall Wakefield, Driver / Monitor, 12 years at IU / 19 years total
Dawn Heckman, Transition Coach, 8.5 years at IU / 8.5 years total
Kazimierz Jackiewicz, Driver, 5.5 years at IU / 9 years total
Lisa Kasprowicz, Mental Health Worker, 18 years at IU / 18 years total
Michael Klingel, Driver, 11.5 years at IU / 11.5 years total
Kathleen Kovacs, Associate Teacher, 28 years at IU
Deanne Kraemer, Secretary, 23 years at IU / 23 years total
H. David Landes, Driver, 7.5 years at IU / 7.5 years total
Marina Ghio Maroney, Associate Teacher, 10 years at IU / 15 years total
Deborah Moran, Driver, 6 years at IU / 6 years total
Debbie Moritz, Teacher, 26 years at IU / 24.5 years total
Norma Morris, Associate Teacher, 9.5 years at IU / 9 years total
Marita Paton, Associate Teacher, 1.5 years at IU / 6 years total
Nina Reppert, Associate Teacher, 18.5 years at IU / 18.5 years total
Patricia Rogers, Driver, 20.5 years at IU / 20 years total
Elizabeth Schlegel, Occupational Therapist, 18 years at IU / 25 years total
Robert Sutjak, Transportation Supervisor, 3 years at IU / 13 years total
Margaret Terleski, Associate Teacher, 6 years at IU / 19 years total
Paula Toborowski, Teacher, 35 years at IU / 35 years total
Debra Yeakel, COTA, 28 years at IU / 28 years total
Trudy Young, Monitor, 6.5 years at IU / 8.5 years total
The mission of the Colonial IU 20 Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (EIB) committee is to provide positive, safe, equitable and inclusive learning environments. The EIB committee seeks to utilize and advocate for a culturally-responsive approach in which diverse strengths and identities are valued, thereby creating a community of belonging. Below is what is being celebrated this month.
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
Pride Month
Pride month honors the accomplishments of individuals who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, while also recognizing the continued efforts to achieve equal justice and equal opportunities.
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Follow us on our social media channels to learn more about the resiliency of #AmazingIU20Kids and creative approaches to learning that our #AmazingIU20Staff have implemented!
At Colonial IU 20, we believe in RELATIONSHIPS that support student growth, RESPONSIVENESS to stakeholders crucial needs, RESULTS demonstrated through effective services and programs, and INNOVATION to improve student outcomes.
Colonial IU 20 provides educational, administrative, and management services to 13 school districts and 3 career and technical centers in Northampton, Monroe, and Pike Counties. As one of the community’s largest employers and contributors, the 1,400 full and part-time staff at CIU 20 provides direct and indirect services to 79,000 public school children; 9,000 non-public school children; and 7,000 professional staff in our service region of 1,200 square miles.