Melissa Galante and Tom Palcic

Randolph Academy Honors Two with ‘Golden Apple’ Awards

Galante, Palcic recognized for outstanding professional contributions and achievements

The Randolph Academy, which supports, empowers and educates children with emotional and mental health disabilities, has selected two outstanding staff members to receive its annual “Golden Apple” award. The honor, which recognizes an individual’s outstanding professional contribution and achievement, was given to Melissa Galante and Thomas Palcic recently by the two-campus district which specializes in Restorative Justice, an effective alternative to punishment-based school discipline.

Melissa Galante has served as a special education teacher at the Randolph Campus since 2010. Over the past decade, she has demonstrated an unrelenting belief that students with disabilities can achieve academically and progress emotionally. In addition, Ms. Galante serves as Randolph Academy’s special education liaison the district’s Committee on Special Education.

A Gowanda resident, Galante also serves as a teacher association officer, volunteering her own time to provide positive leadership that has helped to resolve organizational challenges and reach valuable compromises.

“Melissa’s conviction is the reason she upholds high expectations for students, and accepts no excuses,” said Randolph Academy Superintendent Lori DeCarlo. “She also has a realistic understanding of the interventions and accommodations that are required for students to find such success and believes it is the job of teachers and staff to provide these supports. She is a natural leader who has won the trust and respect of her colleagues and students.”

Tom Palcic was hired as a school counselor at Randolph Academy’s Hamburg campus in 2015. Prior to that, he worked as a residential youth counselor for New Directions Youth and Family Services at the Randolph Campus. In his role as intake coordinator, Mr. Palcic is responsible for hosting tours, fielding inquiries and explaining the school’s program to interested families and referring school districts. He is also in charge of creating the district’s master schedule every academic year, helping to ensure smooth transitions and operations for all students and staff.

A Tonawanda resident, Palcic is also a certified Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Schools trainer, having dedicated hundreds of hours to teaching his colleagues and peers de-escalation strategies and crisis-response techniques. He also serves as the district’s Teacher Association president, volunteering his own time to provide positive leadership that has helped the district work constructively and collaboratively, even when resolving disputes. “Tom is a collaborative leader who puts people at ease, earning their confidence,” Superintendent DeCarlo added. “Tom walks the talk too, as he masterfully demonstrates his Therapeutic Crisis Intervention skills when he helps students to calm down and regain their composure. Every day, he shows that he is completely committed to Randolph Academy’s staff and students.”