Past Award Winners Since being established, the Beard Excellence in Teaching Award has honored the following Bridgeport teachers:
2013 Hanh Figueroa, Geraldine Johnson School Ryan Howard, Classical Studies Academy
2012 Kathleen Sullivan, Central High School Candice King-Sadler, Cesar Batalla School
2011 Kathryn Silver, Bassick High School Dawn Schirizzo, Beardsley School
2010 Ron Rapice, Columbus School Debra Wright, Jettie S. Tisdale School (runner up)
2008 Janice Blevins, Bassick High School Stephen Taylor, Columbus School
2007 Joseph Carmen, Central High School Sheena Graham-Owens, Harding High School
2006 Luz Malave, Elias Howe School Victoria White, Waltersville Elementary School
2005 Janice Jones, Harding High School Sam LaMonico, Central High School
2004 Daniel Babina, Harding High School Ana Gonzalez-Batista, Elias Howe School
2003 Michael Belmonte, Harding High School Herminio Planas, Elias Howe School
2002 Barbara Daniak, Wilbur Cross Elementary School Joseph Lanier, Harding High School
"Equilibrium" shouted Kathleen Sullivan's chemistry class at Bridgeport's Central High School as their teacher almost toppled to the floor demonstrating how chemicals bond together to stay in balance. Ms. Sullivan was one of two winners of the Foundation's Theodore and Margaret Beard Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012. She infects her classroom and school with enthusiasm and innovation.
Beard Excellence in Teaching Award Nominations extended to january 28, 2014
The Story of Theodore and Margaret Beard
Connecticut natives Theodore and Margaret Beard attended public schools through high school in Bethel and Danbury. They continued, throughout their lives, to believe in public education.
In 2002, together with the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation, the Beard family developed the Theodore and Margaret Beard Excellence in Teaching Award, an endowed fund that recognizes a public school teacher in Bridgeport.
Since then, 18 Bridgeport teachers have been honored.
As part of the merged foundation, the Fairfield County Community Foundation is pleased and honored to continue this fine tradition.
About the Beard Award
The Theodore and Margaret Beard Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 2002 by the Beard family to recognize and reward teachers who exemplify professional excellence, a commitment to teaching and an ability to inspire learning among students, communities and colleagues. Theodore and Margaret Beard, former Bridgeport residents, were dedicated to quality public education and believed the most important job in society is that of the teacher.
Each year, up to two Bridgeport educators are recognized with the award, receiving an unrestricted cash award of $25,000. The Beard Excellence in Teaching Award is among the largest awards of its kind in the country.
The awards will be announced at the Inspiration Awards ceremony in May in partnership with the Bridgeport Public Education Foundation.
Inspiring educators can be nominated by community members, peers, students, parents, etc. and must teach in a Bridgeport public school. Competitive candidates for the Beard Excellence in Teaching Award exemplify professional excellence, as reflected in the excitement and enthusiasm for learning that students exhibit in the classrooms.
Other contributions to quality education in Bridgeport that will add to a candidate’s appeal as a potential award recipient include his or her ability to:
use creative and effective instructional strategies to meet the differing needs of students;
use effective assessment strategies to evaluate, monitor, and improve student learning;
demonstrate reflective practice and lifelong learning to improve teaching and student learning;
demonstrate collegiality and a commitment to share best practices;
use effective classroom management skills; and
involve students’ families.
The 2013 Winners
The 2013 Beard Award winners were Hanh Figueroa, a third grade teacher at Geraldine Johnson School and Ryan Howard, a fifth grade teacher at Classical Studies Academy.
Ms. Figueroa has been teaching in the Bridgeport Public Schools for six years. Ms. Figueroa’s classroom has been designed to equip all students with the tools for thinking and living as respectful human beings. Tools for learning and thinking are made available for problem solving along with time for wrestling with hard concepts. Although Ms Figueroa has students at very different academic levels, each student has proudly demonstrated growth. She is described by her principal as a “warm demander” always challenging her students and producing excellent results.
“The culture in my classroom demonstrates that I truly care about my students and encourages them to take academic risks knowing that I will always support their effort," she said.
Mr. Howard has been teaching in the Bridgeport Public Schools for four years. The climate in his classroom is one of high expectations, respect and realism in terms of student interests and needs. He clearly reflects what quality teaching is all about. It is apparent that he cares about each student and provides many opportunities for student led discussions and peer assisted learning. He is described by his principal as one of those “rare” teachers that his students will remember and treasure forever.
“My enthusiasm and passion for education is contagious, and drives me to create an environment that is safe, creative and produces lifelong learners," he said.
Fairfield County's Community Foundation 383 Main Avenue Norwalk, CT 06851-1543