STAMFORD, CT – March 22, 2019 – Community leaders and educators gathered at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel last night to celebrate public education in Stamford. The Stamford Public Education Foundation’s 12th annual Excellence in Education Awards brought over 400 guests in attendance, its highest turnout to date. A highlight of the evening was the announcement of the SPEF Educator Award to Stamford High School teacher Janell Iyer. This year, SPEF was joined by the Stamford Public Schools, which awarded the 2019 Teacher of the Year award to Julia A. Stark Elementary School teacher Katelyn Tavolacci.
Westhill’s Jazz Ensemble welcomed attendees into the event, who were then ushered downstairs to a networking reception. Sixty baskets were on display at the Silent Auction, which included items donated by The Palace Theatre, Zaza Restaurant, OrangeTheory, and other SPEF supporters. At 7PM, the award ceremony began with Project Music and Turn of River 7th Grader Jade Rueda singing the National Anthem. Stamford Public School’s awarded the 2019 Teacher of the Year, also honoring the semi-finalists and Spotlight winners.
SPEF continued the ceremony with the SPEF Leadership Award, which was awarded to Barbara Dalio for her efforts in supporting public education in Connecticut as the Co-Founder and Director of The Dalio Foundation. NatWest Markets CEO Paul Stevelman accepted SPEF Philanthropy Award on behalf of the company for its volunteer efforts and their generosity in helping SPEF pursue its mission. For the SPEF Educator Award, 21 educators were nominated by the Parent-Teacher Organizations at their respective schools in recognition of the exceptional learning environment they have created for their students. Stamford High School teacher Janell Iyer was chosen at the 2019 Educator Award recipient, receiving a $1,000 donation for her classroom/ learning environment. A heart-felt testimony for the SPEF Leadership mentoring program was provided by Stamford High School 9th grader Kenia Rossil, and her UConn Stamford mentor Daira Rivera. Jade Rueda closed the show with a touching rendition of “Stand by Me”.
SPEF is once again extremely grateful to the sponsors of the evening, including: NatWest Markets (Title); AXA IM (Summa Cum Laude); First County Bank, Pitney Bowes, Henkel, Patricia and Bob Phillips, State Street Global, and Garden Homes (Magna Cum Laude); Synapse Group and DonorsChoose.org (Cum Laude); Berkowitz and Hanna LLC, Stamford Bank & Trust, and The Lowenthals (Honors); Serendipity (Media).