Foundation Honors 2018 Outstanding Teachers May 1 At The Chenery

Photo: Brian Dunn, the 2018 S. Warren Farrell Award Honoree.

A ceremony to honor the Foundation for Belmont Education’s recipients of the 2018 Outstanding Teacher and the S. Warren Farrell Awards will be held on this afternoon, Tuesday, May 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School. The award celebration, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, is open to the public.

The teachers, who were selected among nominations submitted by students, parents, colleagues, and community members, were recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s students. The S. Warren Farrell Award for Educational Excellence recognizes a teacher for longstanding dedication and leadership in Belmont’s public schools.

The teachers were informed of their awards with surprise visits in their classrooms on Friday April  from Superintendent John Phelan and FBE President Christa Bauge.

The honorees include:

  • Colleen Cox, Burbank Elementary School, Kindergarten “Learning, discovery and experimentation are sources of joy in her classroom – much more valued than showing what you know or meeting arbitrary standards.”
  • Erin Gillies-Thibeault, Winn Brook Elementary School, Grade 1 “Ms. Gillies-Thibeault instills in her students the importance of trying hard, putting forth full effort, and not being afraid to make mistakes.”
  • Denise LaPolla, Chenery Middle School, Special Education “Denise LaPolla is the epitome of what excellent teaching must be in our world today. It is because of her support, her warmth, and her care for each individual that she is able to promote an atmosphere where a student is driven to learn and to achieve.”
  • Catherine Larkin, Belmont High School, Fine Arts, Ceramics “Ms. Larkin makes every student feel like they have worth and that their individual creativity is remarkable.”
  • Ted Trodden, Butler Elementary School, Physical Education “Mr. Trodden is anything but typical, he’s exceptional. Not many teachers have an impact on every child at a school, but Mr. Trodden has a positive influence on every Butler kid.”
  • Christina Westfall, Wellington Elementary School, Grade 4 “In a large classroom she is able to treat each child as an individual learner and recognize the talents and aptitudes of each.”

The 2018 S. Warren Farrell Award Honoree is Brian Dunn, Belmont High School, Foreign Language, Latin and longtime Girls’ Cross Country and Track coach. “My child would come home and tell me about thoughtful conversations that would begin with Latin, but would grow in magnitude to something bigger – how to treat people, how to be ambitious, how you must try something you’re afraid of or you won’t have the joys that only challenges can bring.”

For more information about this event or the Foundation for Belmont Education, please visit or contact

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