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2016 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence

30 Finalists recognized with cash grants totaling $185,850

(RICHMOND, VA) – The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognize 30 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2016 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 nominations submitted by students, parents and colleagues, 17 winners and 13 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,850.

This year’s awards are bittersweet with the recent loss of the program’s benefactor, Rudy Bunzl. Together with his wife Esther, Rudy was a faithful champion for public education and believed that strong teachers are pivotal to its success. The R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence is among their most notable and continuous contributions in philanthropy, distributing $3.4 million in professional development grants to over 740 public school teachers since 1988.

“The Bunzls have touched countless lives through this unique program,” said Sherrie Armstrong, President and CEO of The Community Foundation. “In a profession that is often under-recognized, their vision has made dreams come true. By gifting opportunities of a lifetime through travel or continued education, teachers return to the classroom with innovative ideas and a renewed sense of energy that inspires both their students and fellow educators.” 

This year’s recipients will build on the lasting legacy of Rudy and Esther Bunzl. Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of the 2016 awardees 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.

Hanover County Winners


Sarah Anzelmo-Steele, Lucille Brown Middle School (RI)
$11,000 t
o explore the classic tale, Anne of Green Gables, including a visit to Poland where Anne played a significant role in the Polish Resistance.

Whitney Wells-Cornfield, John M. Grandy Elementary (HA)                                 
$10,500 t
o explore the rich culture and landscape of New Zealand while capturing images of fractals for use in math and science lessons.

Mindy Dobrinski, Holman Middle School (HE)                                             
$11,000 t
o explore the diverse climates, cuisines, and cultures of the four corners of the United States.

Alfonso J. FavaleSpringfield Park Elementary (HE)                                  
$8,000 t
o create a series of videos that compare and contrast the cultures, landscapes and ecologies of Alaska and Hawaii. 

Tiffany Floyd, James H. Blackwell Elementary School (RI)            
$12,000 t
o travel to Finland during the winter season.

Lisa Grossman, Maude Trevvett Elementary School (HE)                
$8,000 t
o explore of the furthest corners of Virginia – from Williamsburg to the Eastern Shore, Northern Virginia to the Valley, the small towns of Southwestern Virginia and beyond. 

Micheal Harvey, Chesterfield Career and Technical Center (CH)  
$9,800 t
o learn about alternative and emerging energy sources through visits to various plants in the United States including the Hoover Dam, Copper Mountain Solar Facility and Kodiak Electrical Company’s wind turbines.

Terry Lautzenheiser, Chesterfield County Technical Center (CH)           
$11,000 t
o study hybrid and heirloom breeding techniques and explore community-supported agriculture by touring community gardens, small farms and markets.

Lisa R. Mitchell, William Fox Elementary School (RI)                            
$12,000 t
o travel to Portugal and England to experience and research the food traditions of her ancestors through cooking classes and food workshops. 

Robert Motrynczuk, Spring Run Elementary School (CH)                            
$11,000 t
o travel to Hawaii and New Zealand to study and experience the math and science of extreme sports by Heli-boarding, Kiteboarding, and Bungee Jumping.

Amy Petersen, Midlothian High School (CH)                                           
$11,000 t
o journey to Southern France where she will participate in an immersion language course and tour ancient sites related to the Roman expansion in Gaul.

Richard (Paul) Rozecki, Atlee High School (HA)                                                      
$8,000 t
o attend the 2017 Spirit of America Visual Design Retreat and study Pyware and Pygraphics, which will help him design new and innovative band drills. 

Tonya Sikkar, South Anna Elementary School (HA)                          
$11,000 t
o participate in the MOVE Program, an international program that focuses on movement as a way of life for individuals with disabilities. 

Eugene Streett, Cosby High School (CH)                                                       
$11,000 t
o visit Rome, Istanbul and Jerusalem – three cities at the intersection of history and religion. 

Kevin Trent, Patrick Henry High School (HA)                                     
$10,800 t
o explore history and culture of South America by connecting with a former exchange student in Brazil and visiting the family of an Argentine friend in Argentina.

Sara Vogt, Glen Allen High School (HE)                                             
$10,000 t
o participate in the High School Teacher Program at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, and to travel to Southeast Asia. 

Kyla Zabala, Highland Springs High School (HE)                               
$10,000 t
o tour historical theatres to compare current and historical trends by focusing on the lives of several famous poets and playwrights.

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

Learn more about the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence


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