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Kefalos named top correctional educator in Ohio

Photo Provided Mark Kefalos, a teacher at Belmont Correctional Institution, is congratulated after being named 2019 Correctional Education Association Teacher of the Year. Kent Litzenberger, from left, principal, is pictured with teachers Steve Verba and Kefalos, Warden David Gray, and Deputy Warden Mary Potter.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Mark Kefalos, an Adult Basic Education/General Equivalency Diploma teacher at Belmont Correctional Institution is the 2019 Correctional Education Association Teacher of the Year.

He was awarded the honor at the CEA Teacher of the Year ceremony recently held in Sandusky.

According to Warden David Gray, as a 20-year correctional educator Kefalos continues to push the limit of traditional correctional classroom boundaries. His focus is to create an atmosphere that removes his students from a correctional setting into a true learning environment. He puts an emphasis on non-traditional methods, such as mock court hearings, to emphasize the real-world use of the skills the inmates are being taught.

“Mark is a dedicated employee who strives to increase the education level of every student. His goal is for the offenders in his classroom to eventually be released a better citizen that will have more opportunities at gainful employment. His goals for his students are in line with the correctional institution’s goal to reduce the number of offenders who leave the prison and commit another crime,” Gray said.

He started teaching at the prison in January 1999. He will now represent Ohio at the CEA Region III Conference in the spring. Belmont Correctional Institution has had back-to-back statewide teacher of the year recognitions with Kefalos’ in 2019 and William May’s in 2018.

Also, during the CEA Conference, Steve Verba, an ABE/GED teacher at the prison, was recognized with the Beverly Jo Taylor Excellence in Education award. This monetary award is utilized to purchase materials and/or professional development, which will benefit the BCI education program.

Belmont Correctional Institution is a medium security prison west of St. Clairsville. It houses about 2,700 male offenders and offers many programs to the offenders, including educational, vocational, mental health, substance abuse, behavioral, employment, family and social support and community service programs.

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