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Outstanding teachers embark on worldwide travel and continued study

November 10, 2015

(RICHMOND, VA) – At an awards ceremony held Monday evening, The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognized 34 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2015 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 102 teachers nominated by students, parents and colleagues, 16 winners and 18 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,100.

The R.E.B. Awards provide opportunities for area public school teachers to continue their own love of learning as they pursue adventures of a lifetime. For Evette Cartwright, a 5th grade teacher at G.W. Carver Elementary School in Richmond City, an R.E.B. Award of $11,900 will allow her to travel to Jamaica and Hawaii where she will take a deep dive into science topics covered by the 5th grade SOLs, including geology, oceanography and cultural anthropology.

Brian Letourneau, a history teacher at Hanover High School, goes above and beyond to embrace his students’ learning styles by supporting them on their terms – including late night emails, text reminders, and study sessions at Barnes & Noble. With his award of $11,900, Brian will deepen his understanding of our great nation by visiting the American Presidential Libraries and attending a history education workshop at Stanford University. Brian will share his experiences with students through videos, blogs and pictures of each historical site.

Culinary arts teacher at Chesterfield Technical Center, Sarah Jurewicz, engages her students by weaving art, science, math, reading and economics into her baking lessons. One of her students notes, “Ms. Jurewicz inspires me and challenges me in ways that no teacher has before.” With an award of $12,000, Sarah will explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.

Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of this year’s R.E.B. award recipients will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.

2015 R.E.B. Award Finalists


Robert Warren Benway - LC Bird High School (CH) $9,000
To visit the top Maker Spaces in the San Francisco Bay area and attend the international Maker Faire in Singapore; and to visit Cambodia to determine how students can build prosthetics to help the victims of land mine accidents.

Polly Lynne Bosse - Kaechele Elementary School (HE) $11,500
To travel to Hawaii, with a stop in Los Angeles, to gain hands-on experiences and create a multimedia journal of sea animals, marine plants, and island culture.

Mary Victoria Carll - Open High School (RI) $11,800
To travel to Peru and Cuba in order to compare a country that has maintained its historical legacy and cultural and linguistic identities in the face of the 21st century against a country that is just now emerging into the global sphere.

Evette Upshaw Cartwright - G.W. Carver Elementary School (RI) $11,900
To travel to Jamaica and Hawaii to explore the oceanic regions of the East and West Coasts and study geophysical flows, specifically the atmosphere and oceans.

Stephanie Gianni Cochrane - Woolridge Elementary School (CH) $8,200
To travel to the Scottish Lowlands, highlands, and islands seeking inspiration within the landscape, architecture and castles, and the cultural tradition of storytelling.

Teresa Ann Cole - Short Pump Middle School (HE) $12,000
To improve research and writing instruction by traveling to England, France, Germany and Italy to study ancestral culture and history.

Mark Evan Dillon - Bailey Bridge Middle School (CH) $7,400
To experience the Lewis and Clark expedition by retracing their journey from St. Louis, up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, over the Continental Divide, down the Columbia River and to the Pacific Ocean.

Pamela M. Hall - Cosby High School (CH) $12,000
To lead her class in a virtual field trip/math project based learning activity that focuses on challenges faced by the youth in Richmond, Hawaii & Haiti; and to attend a National Geographic photo workshop.

Sarah Frances Jurewicz - Chesterfield Technical Center (CH) $12,000
To explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium.

Erik Siegfried Leise - Atlee High School (HA) $11,800
To visit Moscow, St. Petersburg and Paris to compare and contrast the Art Deco Movement and the Russian Constructivist Movement of the Early Modernist Period.

Brian Matthew Letourneau - Hanover High School (HA) $11,900
To create engaging U.S. history instructional materials based on information gleaned from the libraries of recent American presidents, a history education workshop at Stanford, and the International Society for Technology in Education conference.

Lauren Melton Lineweaver - Falling Creek Elementary School (CH) $8,100
To travel within the United States to experience cultural and historical landmarks which celebrate our country’s rich history.

Kelly Ann Pace - Atlee High School (HA) $10,800
To find writing inspiration by completing a street photography course and traveling to five U.S. cities, taking photographs of people and places in each location.

Kristen Mae Reynolds - Clover Hill Elementary School (CH) $9,200
To explore practical applications of student leadership by attending the Leader in Me Leadership Symposium; and to expand knowledge of global partnership/service leadership by touring Heifer International Global Village and working in Haitian communities.

Dawn Chentil Sherwood - Highland Springs High School (HE) $12,000
To travel to Antarctica and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to photograph wildlife and learn about the effects of climate change and sustainability issues.

Joy Marie Siegel - Shady Grove Elementary School (HE) $12,000
To research historical and current points of view of the English, Irish, Northern Irish, and Scottish about colonization, independence, and cultural adaptations through on-site visits, conversation and dance.

All finalists not chosen for a professional development grant will receive a $750 unrestricted cash grant in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.


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