Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury educators, support staff and volunteers were honored at a dinner Jan. 29 for their work in local schools to improve education for area students. The event, hosted by the Shrewsbury Education Foundation ( SEF), was an occasion to award grants for upcoming projects, as well as to give out accolades for jobs well done.
The new John P. Collins Awards For Excellence, named for former Superintendent of the Shrewsbury Public Schools John P. Collins, Ph.D., who served for 16 years (1978 to 1994) were also handed out. These awards are given to those who “continue to exemplify the highest standards of professionalism and a commitment to lifelong learning” in Shrewsbury Public Schools.
The Collins Award winners were nominated by students, parents and colleagues.
In the professional educators category, Colleen Kalagher, a classroom teacher at Paton Elementary School, Gerald (P.J.) O”Connell, a guidance counselor at Shrewsbury High School ( SHS) and Sandra Travers, a classroom teacher at Spring Street Elementary School, were all honored.
Instructional aides James Capuzziello at Oak Middle School and Kathy Ryan at Coolidge Elementary School were also named Collins Award winners.
Annamaria DaSilva, the driver of school bus # 19 from AA Transportation, was named a winner in the support- staff category.
8 Gold Team members: Janet Allen; Robert Dunn; Kara Hadavi; Carol Hester; Melissa McDonald; Jeremy Mularella; and Derek Pizzuto at Oak Middle School were also named winners.
SHS Assistant Principal Kenneth Largess was the winner in the leadership category.
SEF also awarded its first-ever Community Service Award to Shrewsbury parent Hannah Kane. Kane is a School Council member, PTO officer and leader and host of the annual Garden Party fund-raiser. She is credited with being a driving force in town voters” approval to build a new Sherwood Middle School.
Six grants, totaling approximately $11,000, were given to staff members in the school district for several innovative projects. Grant winners include: Sarah Matthews, a sixth-grade teacher at Sherwood; Director of Health, Physical Education and Family Consumer Science Patricia Degon; Assistant Superintendent Jay Cummings; Sherwood Health teacher Gail Goodness; Floral and Spring Street Health teacher Alison McDonald; SHS physics teach- er Sharon Roland; Principal of Beal School Alice Brennan; firstgrade teacher at Beal Stephanie Halacy; SHS Social Sciences instructor Sarah Wilkinson; SHS Media Specialist Claire Donovan; SHS Media Aide Dawn Vigliatura; third-grade teacher at Coolidge School Shirley LeMay; and fourthgrade teacher at Coolidge Kelly Finneran were honored as the grant recipients.
Superintendent Joseph Sawyer was proud of his community's accomplishments.
“I am appreciative of the support that SEF provides to our district through their grants and the recognition they provide through their awards,” he said. “When a district can celebrate so many successful examples of committed, talented and innovative individuals and teams, with outstanding support of parents and community members, it is no wonder that our school district gets extraordinary results.”