SPS Congratulates Teacher of the Year Finalists, Semi-Finalists and Spotlight Award Winners

spotlight photo

Each year Stamford Public Schools (SPS) recognizes outstanding teachers in the district through its Teacher of the Year and Spotlight Award Program.  The Teacher of the Year and Spotlight Award Program committee solicited nominations from September through December and evaluated all submissions based on the following criteria:  Outstanding Teaching, Exceptional Student Support, Exemplary Community Involvement and Positive Influence on School Culture.  From among all submissions received, the committee chose four individuals and one team to be honored with Spotlight Awards, as well as an exclusive group of six to be considered for Teacher of the Year designation.

After reviewing the nominations and interviewing the Teacher of the Year candidates, the committee named Stamford High School Science Teacher Saleh Jahangir, Toquam Magnet School Special Education Teacher Barbara Hanauer, Toquam Magnet School Special Education Teacher Diana Pelliccia and Individuals Achieving Independence Teacher Lisa Legato-Howlett as 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year Finalists. The committee also designated Rippowam Middle School Science Teacher Frank Aulenti and Academy of Information Technology & Engineering World Language Teacher Raquel Bonessi as Semifinalists.
 
In the next phase of the Teacher of the Year process, each of the four finalists must submit a 30-minute taped class lesson for review by the committee. The committee will consider the videos, along with the interviews and all other materials submitted during the course of the program, to choose the district’s First Finalist and Teacher of the Year winner. In addition to the Teacher of the Year selection process, the committee also chooses those teachers or teams of teachers who demonstrated outstanding teaching or support in the past year as Spotlight Winners.

2020-2021 Spotlight Award Winners

Tanvi Rishi, SPED teacher

Newfield Elementary School

Blakeley Cohen, Literacy Support Specialist

Scofield Magnet Middle School

Laura Mase, Speech/Hearing Pathologist

Rippowam Middle School

Diane Gamse, Teacher for  Hearing Impaired

District Middle and High Schools

Petrina Powell, Susan Conner, Heysha Vasquez, English Learner Team

Julia A. Stark Elementary School

“The Teacher of the Year and Spotlight Award Program Committee has the distinct pleasure of selecting a recipient for the SPS Teacher of the Year Award, an award reserved for those among the most dedicated, innovative teachers in our district,” said Teacher of the Year and Spotlight Award Program Committee Chair Katelyn Tavolacci, 2019-2020 SPS Teacher of the Year.  
SPS will honor the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year winner, First Finalist, Finalists, Semi-finalists and Spotlight Award Winners at the Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) 13th Annual Excellence in Education celebration, on Thursday, March 26, 2020 from 5:30-9:30 pm at the Stamford Marriot Hotel and Spa.