DuBois Weather

Stephanie Tarbay, guidance counselor at Juniata, receives Educator of Year award from PARSS


DuBois, PA – Congratulations to Stephanie Errigo Tarbay, a guidance counselor at Juniata Elementary School who was surprised with the Educator of the Year Award last night from the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools!

You can see the video on our Facebook page.

Congratulations to Stephanie on this prestigious award!

In addition to the recognition, she’s also been given a grant for $500 to use on any school project she wishes.

Barbara Jo Smith, principal of Juniata Elementary, nominated Stephanie for the award.

Dr. Edward Albert, executive director of PARSS, drove 200 miles from Lancaster to be there to personally give her the award and celebrate her achievements.

The nomination letter about Stephanie Tarbay from Principal Barbara Jo Smith:


Please accept this letter, with my highest recommendation, for your consideration of Mrs. Stephanie Tarbay for the Rural Educator of the Year for 2020. Stephanie is the Elementary School counselor at Juniata Elementary School in DuBois Area School District and is by far the most exceptional school counselor I have had the privilege to work with in over 38 years in education. She is a critical member of our faculty and provides whole-hearted service in our community and determinedly makes a positive impact on those around her. Her continuous modeling of a positive outlook on life is evident to her students and adults alike. It is without question that Stephanie Tarbay has made helpful contributions to her community and modeled for all kindness and caring. Her heart and desire to serve others is like no other.

Stephanie’s ability extends way beyond what is usual for a school counselor. At Juniata Elementary School, her positive and continual impact is very evident through the things she can be observed doing each and every day. She is a vital support to students, families and staff who have a need. Whether it is family issues, death or loss of someone or something, or interpersonal conflicts, Stephanie calmly connects with individuals and helps them through it. Stephanie makes every effort to be able to call each student by their first name and makes a meaningful connection with them.

She collaborates with all staff at Juniata Elementary as well as across our district on various programs such as helping the homeless, Career on Wheels events, Red Ribbon Week, and Kindness Month. In February, she gathers motivational items from anyone who would donate items to incentive students with a “white elephant” type of drawing using “tickets” they have earning by doing kind acts at home or at school. Stephanie has been helpful in working on certificates of recognition and appreciation for students who do kind acts throughout the year with the Random Act of Kindness Awards given out to students and staff who are recognized for being king. These are given out two times a month and announced on our daily announcements. She meets with students and helps support their learning and fosters the growth of character using positive reinforcements. Stephanie has also been trained as a Safe Crisis Management trainer for our district. She with her partners have taught various staff members how to de-escalate situations and manage students in need following the Safe Crisis Management process.

Stephanie has many skills that she puts to use within her community that spreads her willful giving spirit beyond the classroom. She is a Pennsylvania licensed auctioneer. Many times she works with her father and has done numerous charity work auctions for the community such as the yearly Area Agency on Aging charity auction. Stephanie is an established photographer who uses these skills to help families in her town. She also teaches Zumba in the area to keep folks mentally and physically healthy and has helped out in our school when we were having workshops for parents by facilitating Zumba for child-care. Stephanie, along with her brother, have voluntarily shared their vocal talents at area churches as part of their services as special musical offerings to the congregation.

Stephanie has created a non-profit organization that is called Pouches of Positivity. The purpose of it is to give back to those that may be feeling down or need something to preoccupy their minds with a sense of hope while being in the hospital as Cystic Fibrosis )CF) patients. Right now, care packages are being sent to UPMC Presbyterian and other area hospitals where local CF patients go for their treatments and hospitalizations. The pouches contain adult coloring books, crossword puzzles and other word game books, notepads, crayons, pencils, snacks, cards, gum, lip gloss, games, hand sanitizer, etc. Through these efforts, Stephanie models how caring people give to others who are in need.

Stephanie makes a positive impact in her community through her emergency management service endeavors. She is a member of the Lawrence Township Volunteer Fire Company #1 where she courageously supports the community as being trained in Emergency Medical Responder, Trench Rescue Operation, and Interior Fire Fighter with a Live Fire. Stephanie has responded to various calls at all hours to help with fires, accidents, and other emergency calls. She was actively engaged in various activities for Fire Prevention Week at our school and in her community in teaching people about fire safety and firemen. Stephanie participated in the maintenance and restoration of Elliot’s Park as part of the fire company giving back to the community. She also helped with an outreach for Christmas through the Area Agency on Aging with her fire company.

For her community, Stephanie is a member of the Clearfield Borough Council and participates in the meeting to make an impact o help guide her community. She is a member of the St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Clearfield where she serves her church as an instructor of young children. Stephanie and her husband have participated in a Run/Walk for Cystic Fibrosis. They have created a team to participate in these walks/runs. Her efforts gathered funding for this cause.

For her thirtieth birthday, Stephanie decided to reach out again to her community and support her community by doing 30 days of kind acts. She took snacks to the EMS workers. She visited her local post office with gifts of appreciation. Each day, Stephanie posted on social media her community support to a different community member to build awareness that we should all be kind to those who are around us every day and therefore inspiring everyone how to be kind to each other. Stephanie exemplifies exactly how to pay kindness forward.

Stephanie Tarbay consistently demonstrates that she is an employee who continues to make a positive and continuous impact on public education within the school and within her community. For the reasons mentioned above and many more, it is with my highest recommendation that she be recognized as the Educator of the Year for 2020. Stephanie Tarbay would undoubtedly raise the bar for future recipients of the award and would be an exceptional representatives of PARSS.