CV-TEC Wins NYS SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year

At the regional SkillsUSA competition in Syracuse, New York, Mrs. Nicole Santaniello was awarded the 2023 NYS SkillsUSA Area III Advisor of the Year.

While it was a surprise for all the CV-TEC students, Santaniello knew she was being given this award. Early into the new year, all of the Area III SkillsUSA advisors met and nominations for Area III Advisor of the Year were discussed.

“The Capitol Region BOCES advisor nominated me, which took me by total surprise, and the rest of the group voted yes for me,” she said. “While receiving the award wasn’t a surprise, it was still nerve-racking because there were about 2,700 people there.”

Santaniello was nominated because of her exceptional help with the regional competition. She helped streamline the event, so it was more efficient and organized, like at the state level. She took on the role of spearheading the organization and connections needed to elevate the regional competition.


Santaniello is the lead advisor for the Mineville campus and the co-lead advisor for the Plattsburgh campus. She’s also the main contact for the state and Area III. She is responsible for all of the paperwork involved with SkillsUSA. Santaniello keeps track of everyone’s registrations, hotel accommodations and Purchase Order requests.

In Mineville, she organizes all of the students. She is the lead advisor at these competitions, so she must remain organized herself and know what’s going on.

“She’s been a guiding figure. She helped me with college credits and organized New Visions meetings. She’s always been our backbone,” Mineville New Visions Medical Careers student Alessia Caputo said. “If we needed anything, she would sort it out. It was nice to have support to truly know we are being helped through this entire journey.”


There was a lot of time and energy that went into preparation for a strong chance at placing well at SkillsUSA.

“You must have the perfect storm. You need to have the right type of students combined with the passion of the teachers and advisors,” Santaniello said.

Santaniello’s goal for her students in SkillsUSA was to increase the time spent preparing for competition. She worked with each individual teacher/advisor about their students attending SkillsUSA. She made sure everyone understood the scopes of each competition students would be in.

“The passion has been re-sparked on our campuses for that,” she said. “Teachers are seeing other teachers’ students win or place, and they want that. There is more prep involved.”

Santaniello made sure her students were set for success, and her students noticed her efforts, too.

“I was really thankful to see her receive that medal because it’s nice that when you go to Skills that they’re not only recognizing high achieving students, but they’re also recognizing high achieving staff at schools,” Mineville New Visions Medical Careers student Emma Cook said. “She was working behind the scenes to make the whole program happen.”


The national competition in Atlanta was Santaniello’s first time attending the national SkillsUSA event. Despite running the SkillsUSA chapter in Mineville for eight years, she hasn’t had the opportunity to attend the national level with students.

“I’m hoping to interact and network with people from other states,” she said. “I have a good network with other advisors in Area III, but I’d love to connect with people from Vermont and other neighboring states.”

While there was a lot of excitement around nationals, Santaniello is already thinking of how to improve the experience for students in the future.


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