32 educators to receive $175,000 at anniversary event Monday evening
On November 19, 2012 the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence celebrated something beyond the outstanding public school teachers who make up this year’s class of honorees. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the esteemed awards program, which offers an opportunity to reflect on its impact over the years.
Inspired by the vision of Rudy and Esther Bunzl, the R.E.B. Awards began in 1988 as an innovative approach to strengthening public education through the recognition of skilled, passionate and committed teachers in our local school districts (Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Richmond and Department of Correctional Education). Since the program’s inception, the R.E.B Foundation has partnered with The Community Foundation to award over $2.7 million to honor 647 classroom teachers and support 364 professional development grants. In a recent evaluation of the program, 92% of teachers reported they benefitted both personally and professionally from winning the award and 57% noted that it encouraged them to stay in the field of education.
Throughout the years, recipients of the award have continued their own education, attended professional workshops and traveled all over the world – a luxury many teachers admit would not have been possible without the R.E.B. program. Lisa Williams, a 2009 winner, used her grant to explore her African American heritage with a life-changing journey. Beginning with Ghana, West Africa to explore the hub of transatlantic slave trade, Williams toured the American Midwest to visit sites that symbolize mobility, endurance and pride for African Americans—all with one grant for being a distinguished educator in Richmond. “Teaching is a humble and quiet career, in which we as educators never fully realize our impact.” The R.E.B. Award gave Williams a chance to shine, with the confidence and experience to inspire many teachers like her.
Though only half of the finalists will receive professional development grants, the runner-ups will still receive a $750 grant in recognition of their hard work and dedication to their craft.
LIST OF 2012 WINNERS IN RICHMOND
Cecilia Wright Boswell Maggie Walker Governor’s School (RI) $11,000
To travel to Greece and China to experience the landscape, architecture, cuisine, art and history that make up these starkly different ancient cultures.
Lori R. Kalber Overby-Sheppard Elementary School (RI) $9,000
To travel to California to visit museums, parks and neighborhoods that inspired famous authors.
Shaunte L. Means Woodville Elementary School (RI) $9,100
To travel to Hawaii to study application of the Singapore Mathematics Method in a variety of schools; attend the Summer Institute in Worcester, MA; and explore best practices for mathematics by participating in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference.
LaChaunne Rachael Perry Woodville Elementary School (RI) $12,000
To explore family history by tracing genealogy and to study slavery by visiting the site of the Atlantic slave trade in Western Africa and Brazil.
Rodney Alexander Robinson Armstrong High School (RI) $11,500
To study the contributions of minorities such as African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Native Americans, and female Americans to the war effort during World War II.
Suhani Suresh Vakil Swansboro Elementary School (RI) $11,500
To embark on culinary expeditions in New York City, Paris, and South India to develop cooking as a life skill with students.