- Corl Street Elementary
- Corl Street Elementary School
Sergeon Named Advocate of the Year
For Cindy Sergeon, it was the best kind of performance evaluation.
Sergeon, the State College Area School District’s home and school visitor in charge of the SCASD Family Intervention Team, had just dropped off groceries for a family in need when she received a memorable thank you. A boy, excited about the supplies including a favorite food, gave her a heartfelt hug.
“You would have thought I had dropped off $1 million to him,” Sergeon recalled.
Recently, Sergeon received public recognition for her success helping SCASD students and families, accepting the 2022 Paving the Way to Education Success Advocate Award at a state conference sponsored by two Pennsylvania Department of Education programs, Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Educational Stability for Children and Youth in Foster Care.
Sergeon’s responsibilities include being the district’s foster care point of contact and homeless liaison with local agencies. For November, the national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month, she’s planning a districtwide awareness campaign.
“Her work to provide educational stability for children and youth experiencing homelessness and/or children and youth in foster care in SCASD has been commendable,” SCASD Director of Student Services Jeanne Knouse said. “She has the unique ability to establish an immediate, positive rapport with all her families and provides an approachable, supportive system of support. I am so proud that all her hard work is being recognized; she is so deserving.”
As the home and school visitor, Sergeon focuses on curbing absenteeism by working with families to develop plans for regular school attendance. She also teams with social worker Morgan Bechdel to assess and meet the basic needs of students’ families, drawing on the district’s Helping Hands food pantry they started last year.
“I’m humbled to receive the advocate of the year award. Simply put, I love my job and the privilege to work alongside so many amazing students, families, staff and agencies,” Sergeon said. “We restore faith and hope and transform lives.”
None of her office’s assistance, she said, would be possible without the close partnership she and Bechdel enjoy.
“I learned two very important lessons early in my career: I’m only as good as the team I surround myself with, and no one can help everyone but everyone can help one,” Sergeon said. “Therefore, I take pride in creating and maintaining relationships with those helping someone who needs a little extra support, and I strive to make a difference in one with one everyday. If I can help just one person a day, I’m doing my job right.”
And when confirmation of that comes in the form of an appreciative embrace, that’s all the validation she really needs.
“That’s the real award for doing my job,” she said. “That’s what makes the difficult days easier.”
By Chris Rosenblum
Photos by Nabil K. Mark