Excellence in Education Awards

Excellence in Education Awards
Posted on 04/28/2017
Excellence in Education

On April 27, 2017, Norwalk held its first “Excellence in Education” awards dinner. More than 160 people gathered to honor teams of teachers from 12 Norwalk schools. Designed to recognize educators who are making a difference, the awards event is a collaboration between the Norwalk Education Foundation, Norwalk Public Schools and the Norwalk Federation of Teachers.  

 Each team of teachers received a plaque with their names, and a check for $500 from NEF to spend on something for their school.  


Below are the honorees and an overview of their recognition.  


Brien McMahon High SchoolRob Ayala, Amanda McAndrew, Becky Pavia, and Tom Seuch.

These teachers made up the Brien McMahon NEASC Steering Committee, taking responsibility for managing the school’s 10-year accreditation visit. All faculty members take part in researching, assembling evidence, writing a mission statement, and compiling reports prior to the visit, then meeting with visiting NEASC members during their four-day stay. Managing the NEASC process is a huge undertaking with high stakes. Brien McMahon passed with flying colors!  

Norwalk High School:  Lisa Riveccio and Larry Anastasia.

Lisa and Larry were nominated for their involvement in the Bears Beating Cancer Club. Both are advisers for the popular club at Norwalk High that focuses on raising awareness of childhood cancer. Two fund-raising events they run are the Bear Flop and St. Baldrick's event, which has raised nearly $70,000 to date. The sixth anniversary of the St. Baldrick’s event will take place this year on Saturday, June 10, and all teachers are invited to come shave their head for charity!


Three middle schools nominated their sixth grade teachers for their work this year to implement the middle school redesign plan.

Ponus Ridge Middle School: Mary Anderson, Brian DeBoer, Joseph Giandurco, Cheryl Lignelli, James Lynch, Jamie Matis, Kathleen Meehan, Beverly Rosen, Racquel Sesler, and Sharita Simmons.

These sixth grade teachers at Ponus Ridge were nominated for their work as “pioneers” in the Middle School redesign plan. Despite the challenges that come with implementing new ideas and programs, these educators worked tirelessly and collaboratively in support of their students. The end result was an exceptional educational experience.

Roton Middle School: Jen Baker, Tritty Kelly, Tracie Perrottelli, Katie Pierrot, Christie Robinson, Bob Seferian, and Frank Yulo.

The Roton nomination is for the Grade 6 Orange Team, and their implementation of the middle school redesign plan with “enthusiasm and fidelity.” ENCORE has broadened the educational experience and has established relationships as students attend the classes offered by their teachers. Improvement in student test scores was cited in the nomination, as was the strong bond and positive, united front presented by this team.

West Rocks Middle School: Maria Fox, Pat Festa, Roseanne Fullam, Amanda Labadia, Christine Martenson, Michael Richards, Jen Pampillonio, Rebecca Sabol, Mary Simone, Dennis Tegmier, Marla Valente, Laura Wax, and Lou Weinberg.

The entire Grade team was nominated for their work to improve instruction and raise the standards as part of Middle School Redesign. Their work to implement new instructional materials, block scheduling, and Tier 2 & 3 instructional support programs such as Read 180 and Math 180, while supporting students with special needs, was recognized by the school community in their nomination for this award.  


Cranbury Elementary School: Dr. Laura Rubinson and Liza Haynie

Lauran and Liza nominated by their colleagues for their outstanding efforts, financial support, and time spent organizing the winter and spring theatrical productions at Cranbury School. Whether it’s taking student on a journey with the Polar Express or one of their many other wonderful programs, they are always a hit with parents, teachers, and students alike.

Fox Run Elementary School--Alex Casubolo, Robin Gredinger, Renee Lukaniec, Amanda Martinez, Geneva Mayne, Monica Sprie, and Leah Zilich

Fox Run is one of three schools that nominated teachers on their PBIS team. Introduced to the district in 2010, PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports.  It establishes a standard set of school wide-procedures and expectations for students, and recognizes and rewards those who meet these high standards.  These teachers nominated from Fox Run have worked collaboratively with paraprofessional staff, administrators and others to improve the climate in the school.

Jefferson Science Magnet School: Julie Signore, Amanda DeMott, Meredith Sanchez, and Eileen Strycharz.

Julie, Amanda, Meredith and Eileen were nominated by their colleagues for the valuable resource they provide to their fellow NFT members as building stewards. Norwalk. We thank them for their hard work and service to the Jefferson community.  

Marvin School: Aly Johnson, Stephanie Dean, Stefanie Deeb, Lindsay Mumbach, and Alexandra Penick

Early in the school year, Marvin Elementary suffered the tragic loss of a much-loved colleague. Despite coping with their own personal grief, these educators came together to support the emotional and educational needs of the students who were impacted by the loss. Social worker Ali Penick facilitated classroom activities to help students cope with the sudden loss, and guided staff in how to communicate with the children. Aly Johnson was reassigned to Marvin, accepting the challenge of taking over the third grade class. Third grade team members Stefanie Dean, Stephanie Deeb and Lindsay Mumbach worked together with her to ensure the continuance of the curriculum and provide support. We recognize them tonight for their extraordinary strength and dedication.  

Rowayton Elementary - Stephanie Edwards, Maura Fried, Abby Maxwell, Katie Mulcahy, Kerry Rice, and Danielle Tagariello.

The Rowayton PBIS team was nominated for their unwavering commitment to building a positive school climate. They have worked diligently over the past four years, attending training sessions and monthly meetings in order to implement PBIS with fidelity. They have planned whole school learning assemblies to teach students the pillars of Responsibility, Open-mindedness, Cooperation, Kindness and Safety. They have developed a system of rewards to encourage the positive behaviors described as Rowayton ROCKS, and they created a referral system to fairly monitor and support student behavior.

Silvermine Elementary Mano-a-Mano: Estella Isaza, Liz Chahine, Liz Griffin, Amber Haygood, Rocio Hernandez, Betsy Durango, Lisa Taggart, Kelly Brown, Rosa Colon, Sulma Sabbagh, Ana Fernandez, Elizabeth Becker, Damaris Cruz, Lindsey Buono, and Jenny Lopez.

Last winter, Silvermine Elementary School began the process of transitioning into a full dual-language immersion school. Tonight, we recognize the dual-language teachers at Silvermine, who go the extra mile every day to teach their collective students in not one, but two languages.  The teachers here tonight were nominated for their dedication and hard work in collaborating with their language partners, in order to ensure the curriculum is implemented properly in both languages.  


Wolfpit School: Anne Beluk, Pam Bissonnette, Matina Panagiotidis, Kim Troccolo, and Shawn Sullivan

These teachers make up the PBIS team at Wolfpit School. Their dedication to our students and school has been an important factor in creating a positive school climate at Wolfpit. Above and beyond their day-to-day work in the classroom, their efforts help support the social, emotional, and academic achievement of all Wolfpit students. Their work is appreciated every day by their colleagues and parents.

 We thank all of Norwalk’s hardworking, talented and professional educators, both those here tonight as well as well as others throughout the district.  We deeply appreciate all you do as we strive together to provide Excellence in Education.