BINGHAMTON, NY – Each month we highlight a teacher in our area for the Golden Apple Award.

This month, we take you to Owego Elementary, to showcase someone who wants nothing but the best for students.

A long time local and Candor Graduate, Tara Benesh, has been a teachers aide for about 13 years.

She started at a previous school district, but is currently in her 3rd year at Owego Elementary.

“I like having a hand in the kids with their ‘Ah-Ha’ moments, when they’re struggling and you get to be there to support them and walk them through different ways to solve the problems they’re working for,” says Benesh.

Being a teacher’s aide was never something that was on her radar.

Whenever Benesh’s children went to school, she decided it was one of the easiest things to transition into.

She was working at the same district her kids were in, so having matching schedules was perfect.

She works with not just one, but 3 different grade levels every day.

“Tara is fantastic at meeting the students, where they are, and kind of building off their successes to make them feel successful,” says Owego Elementary teacher Chris Marinich.

Marinich has worked closely with Benesh for a year, but has known her for longer.

Cindy Short was the one to nominate Benesh for the award, mentioning she helps out with the afterschool program and she even came up with some ideas to make the program better.

“We didn’t have tons of supplies for them, we were trying to figure out ways to keep them busy, keep them so they were not bored,” says Benesh.

After approaching the P-T-O with the ideas, Benesh and a couple others were able to secure toys, coloring books, and other things to keep the students engaged after school hours.

When the program is in session, Benesh would be at school every Monday Through Friday from 7:30 to 6.

She adds there is nothing more satisfying then seeing children’s faces light up when they are able to solve a problem.

If you know of a local K through 12 educator deserving of recognition, you can nominate them here.

Just find Golden Apple Award under the Community section and fill out the online submission form.