Foundation for Belmont Education’s Outstanding Teacher Awards Ceremony Set For Thurs., May 4 at Belmont High Auditorium

Photo: You’re invited to the Foundation for Belmont Education’s Outstanding Teacher Awards Ceremony.

The annual Foundation for Belmont Education’s Outstanding Teacher Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 4, at 6 p.m. at the Belmont High School Auditorium.

Sponsored by the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, the Outstanding Teacher Awards recognizes the extraordinary contributions made by teachers in the Belmont Public Schools. Community members, including high school and middle school students, nominate teachers they feel deserve this recognition. A sub-committee of the FBE then selects teachers from the nominations, one from each of the Belmont Public Schools, to be recognized as the Outstanding Teachers of the Year.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Kerry Lapon, Winn Brook Elementary, Kindergarten
  • Kate Ebdon, Wellington Elementary, Second Grade
  • Samantha Sacco, Butler Elementary, Third Grade
  • Nicole Pond, Burbank Elementary, Art Teacher
  • Brianne Panzarella, Chenery Middle, Sixth Grade Social Studies
  • Eileen White, Belmont High, Social Studies

In addition to the outstanding teachers award, the S. Warren Farrell Award for Educational Excellence recognizes one Belmont Public Schools educator for long-standing dedication and leadership in the classroom and the larger community. This award honors the legacy of S. Warren Farrell for his many years of dedicated volunteer work in Belmont and its schools.

This year’s honoree is Cindy Crowley, Butler Elementary, Special Education.

This year’s FBE hosts are Barbara Bulfoni and Nomita Ganguly. The awards will be presented by John Phelan, Belmont Public School superintendent, and Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias, who are retiring this summer. A special guest will be State Sen. Will Brownsberger.


Foundation Honors Seven Belmont Educators as 2016’s ‘Outstanding’ Teachers’

Photos: The Burbank’s Lisa O’Sullivan was caught up in the moment being named one of seven Outstanding Teachers in Belmont.

Two teach English, one is your children’s first music teacher and they all prepare Belmont students for life-long learning.

And those seven Belmont public school teachers were chosen as recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Awards, the Foundation for Belmont Education announced today, Friday, April 15. 

“These honorees are recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s children,” said Hannah Fischer, who handles marketing for the foundation.

As it was last year, the teacher’s were visited in their classrooms by members of the Foundation and Belmont School Superintendent John Phelan who handed out balloons, a certificate and congratulations.

Now in its second year, the Outstanding Teacher Award recipients were nominated by students, parents, colleagues, and community members. 

The 2016 honorees are:

Martha Bloom, Belmont High School, English


“She creates an engaging learning environment where the students work as a team and feel safe to share their writing, ideas, and opinions.”

Kathleen Calhoun, Winn Brook Elementary School, Grade 3


“Ms. Calhoun is able to recognize and encourage skills and promote a positive and enriching learning environment.”

Justin Chiu, Butler Elementary School, Grade 4


“There aren’t outliers in his class, there are unique students, each of whom brings a relevant perspective.”

Michelle Connors, Chenery Middle School, Grade 8, English


“When I walked away from her class…I had learned things that applied not just to an English class, but to every aspect of my life.”

Cheryl Lyons, Wellington Elementary School, Grade 1


“Her students are loved, they are cherished, they are safe, they are understood, and most importantly, they learn.”

Lisa O’Sullivan, Burbank Elementary School, Grade 3 


“She has the natural insight and sensitivity to connect with her students on multiple levels.”

Sharon Phipps, Multi-School, Music


Ms. Phipps is a wonderful, energetic, enthusiastic and encouraging teacher who sees potential in students and turns it into self-esteem and success.

A ceremony to honor Belmont’s Outstanding Teacher Awards winners will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 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. 

For more information about this event or the Foundation for Belmont Education, please visit the foundation’s web site or send an email to

Excellence: Foundation Honors Inaugural Group of ‘Outstanding’ Belmont Teachers

Photo: Belmont High Biology teacher Suzanne Lijek named one of “Outstanding Teacher of the Year.”

Suzanne Lijek had no idea why Principal Dan Richards had called her down to the main office for a “meeting.” 

The AP Biology teacher at Belmont High School was preparing for the day’s classes when when she headed to the offices at 9 a.m. on April 15. 

It was only when she was ushered into the guidance room did she suspect that something was amiss.

Inside were many of her students, colleagues, Superintendent John Phelan and members of the Foundation for Belmont Education along with flowers, balloons and a certificate.

After a few seconds of being surprised, Lijek was informed by FBE President Jamie Shea she was the very first honoree of the foundation’s “Belmont’s Outstanding Teachers of the Year” award. 

The six honorees, from each of Belmont’s public schools, were recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s children. Recipients were nominated by students, parents and community members. 

“Teachers don’t receive the recognition they deserve in many places in the country, so this is a great opportunity for Belmont to tell them how important they are,” Phelan told Lijek and those assembled.

Shea noted that Lijek was the very first recipient of the award that the FBE hopes to make an annual event.

“I’m happy to receive this award because it validates the work all teachers do,” Lijek told the Belmontonian. 

In addition to Lijek, the 2015 honorees – all who were told in person at their schools – are: 

  • Katharine Caritey, Burbank Elementary, Grade 2 
  • Audrey Ruddock, Butler Elementary, Kindergarten 
  • Steven Tenhor, Wellington Elementary, Grade 4 
  • Danielle Pandolfo, Winn Brook Elementary, Grade 3 
  • Ben Ligon, Chenery Middle School, Grade 6 (Math) 

The ceremony to honor Belmont’s Outstanding Teachers of the Year award winners will be held on April 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School. The award celebration, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank, is open to the public. 

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