Teachers receive awards for excellence

3/9/2017 | Chris Maza

Category: March

Nine Chicopee educators were recently honored with Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards.

The award, a program instituted through by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in 2003, recognizes outstanding teachers in Western Massachusetts for their impact on students, colleagues, and schools. Award winners are nominated by their peers.

This year’s winners were Christine Oliver, a kindergarten teacher at Bowie Elementary School; Jennifer Vaughan, a first grade teacher at Lambert Elementary School; Abbie Meulemans, a fourth grade teacher at Barry Elementary School; Barbara Moskal, a math teacher at Dupont Middle School; Sabrina Pudelko, a preschool teacher at Szetela Early Childhood School; Jill Illuzzi, an academic support specialist at Litwin Elementary School; Midje Theulen, a physical education teacher and department supervisor at Chicopee High School; Dianne Vecchiarelli, the Guidance Department supervisor at Chicopee High School; and Fairview Elementary School third grade teacher Paige Sullivan, winner of the New Teacher category.

In a congratulatory letter to each of the winners, Superintendent Richard Rege Jr. said, “Some of the criteria used to select winners were: ability to demonstrate professionalism, participation in community activities and enthusiasm for the teaching profession. I am confident that you will continue to inspire the youth of Chicopee to become model students who strive to do their best. Thank you for the honor you have brought to the Chicopee Public Schools.”

In addition to an engraved plaque presented at a May  3 reception and dinner at the Log  Cabin in Holyoke, the winners receive a $250 cash reward, an additional $250 grant for a classroom project, a three-month membership at a local YMCA or Jewish Community Center and a grant toward graduate coursework. The prize is made possible by the Grinspoon Foundation, the George A. and Irene E. Davis Foundation, and MassMutual Life Insurance Company,

“Nothing is dearer to my heart than educators,” Philanthropist Harold Grinspoon said. “Every teacher has that magic possibility of impacting the lives of children in very important ways. Along with my funding partners at the Davis Foundation and MassMutual, I am thrilled to honor these talented local educators in 2017.”

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