McAuliffe & Iosso among County’s Unsung Heroes

(above) Dr. Scott Rubin, superintendent of Cranford Public schools, Bee Iosso, and Mark Cantagallo, Cranford High School principal.

Brian McAuliffe, Bee Iosso Among County’s “Unsung Heroes”

Brian McAuliffe of Cranford, a student in the Work Readiness Academy of the Union County Educational Services Commission, and Blathnaid “Bee” Iosso, a senior at Cranford High School, were among recipients of the 2019 “Unsung Heroes” award, sponsored by the Union County School Boards Association.

The Unsung Heroes program recognizes students who model good citizenship or who achieve academic success and make outstanding contributions to their schools and communities despite disabilities, language barriers, or other personal and academic challenges.

“Our Unsung Heroes are models of outstanding citizenship and quiet strength, and they inspire their peers and the entire school community,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, New Jersey School Boards Association executive director. “We commend the Union County School Boards Association for honoring these exemplary students.”

Josh Bornstein, director of transition services for the Union County ESC, nominated Brian McAuliffe for the award. He cited Brian’s participation in Special Olympics, the Shining Stars Network’s annual variety show, and internships with the Kean University Athletics Department and several local businesses. “Whether he is greeting his customers or wowing an audience, Brian’s smile brings joy to everyone he meets,” wrote Bornstein. Brian attended the Cranford Public Schools in first through 12th grade.

Mark Cantagallo, principal of Cranford High School, nominated Bee Iossa for the Unsung Hero honors. He cited the daily support she provided to her younger brother and sister while her mother faced a serious illness, and noted that Bee, an all-state team gymnast, also had to overcome injuries during the off-season. “Through a difficult situation, Bee has never sought attention for her accomplishments,” Cantagallo wrote.

2019 marks the fourth consecutive year that the Union County School Boards Association has sponsored the Unsung Heroes program. In all, 34 Union County high school students were recognized as Unsung Heroes during a special event attended by approximately 200 parents, teachers, school administrators and board members on March 13, 2019, at Union High School.

Brian McAuliffe was recently highlighted in a New Jersey School Boards Association video. He was one of four of Union County’s 2019 Unsung Heroes who were the subjects of an NJSBA video series about the program. Information about the four students can be accessed at


The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.

Photo by Cranford Public Schools

(above) Brian McAuliffe

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