There’s a reason everyone remembers their favorite teacher.
Outside of family, teachers have the greatest influence on a child’s development and future success; they can make all the difference in the world.
Recently, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation honored five Sarasota County teachers for going the extra mile. In partnership with Sarasota County Schools, Barancik Foundation unveiled its Ripple Effect Teacher Award at the School Board meeting May 18.
The newly established, semi-annual prize acknowledges outstanding teachers who have impacted lives inside and outside classrooms. Each are awarded $5,000 to spend on professional development experiences or on material and equipment for their classrooms.
The spring semester awardees are:
• Steve Lord from Atwater Elementary School
• Mary Pedro from Lamarque Elementary School
• Judi Robson from Sarasota Middle School
• Darwin “Tony” Epps from Brookside Middle School
• Jessica Gardner from Wilkinson Elementary School
A surprise to the teachers, each winner was recognized by their principal during a special ceremony. The recipients were commended for their innovative efforts in building positive cultural changes at their schools — among both their students as well as their peers. All were quoted for having an impact that would reverberate through the lives of those they encountered.
“Chuck and Margie both believed in the power of education to change lives, it was the common thread in their philanthropy,” said Teri A Hansen, President/CEO of Barancik Foundation. “Given all that teachers do for our students in and out of the classroom, we want to acknowledge and thank ten of those making a difference each year.”
The award was inspired by the late Barancik couple’s philosophy on their charitable giving, often quoting: “We can’t change the world, but we can change little pieces of it and hope for a ripple effect.” This month’s awards were in honor of Chuck Barancik’s birthday. A second round of five teachers will be recognized in September in memory of Margie’s.
“Although this year has presented unprecedented challenges for our teachers, it has also highlighted the powerful ways our teachers motivate and inspire their students and colleagues,” said Laura Kingsley, assistant superintendent/chief academic officer of Sarasota County Schools. “These five awardees epitomize what Chuck and Margie always felt about teachers: Their love and dedication to our children has a ripple effect that impacts all of us.”
The winners were selected out of 54 candidates. Facilitated by the School District, each Sarasota County principal nominated one teacher to be considered for the award. A committee made up of community leaders then identified the top candidates.
Barancik Foundation has made an ongoing commitment to award the teacher grants, up to $50,000 total, every year moving forward.
In other good news, Mayor Jill Luke and Commissioner Debbie McDowell recently received Home Rule Hero awards from the Florida League of Cities, at the Manasota League of Cities meeting in Longboat Key.
Home Rule Hero awards are given to individuals who consistently responded to the League’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue.