CAG Educator of the Year Award

The CAG Educator of the Year Award recognizes a teacher, superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, or other administrator who has gone above and beyond in the lives of gifted children. Nominate a teacher or administrator who has been unusually helpful, innovative, or supportive of gifted children, someone who has made a positive difference in the lives of gifted children in CT. To nominate an educator for this meaningful honor, please complete this form and email it to Nomination deadline has been extended through March 31, 2020. Read about previous recipients below.

2019 CAG Educator of the Year

West Hartford first grade teacher Lisa Kropp has been named the Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG) '2019 Educator of the Year'. Kropp was honored at an awards ceremony during CAG's Annual Dinner at the Riverview Bistro, 946 Ferry Boulevard, Stratford, on May 21.

Kropp, of Wolcott Elementary School, was nominated by Catherine Little, PhD, a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut and director of Project SPARK. In nominating Kropp, Little wrote "Lisa Kropp has been a strong teacher and leader in the implementation of UConn's Project SPARK in her West Hartford school for the past five years. Showing a deep concern for students exhibiting early academic potential, Lisa has honed her ability to meet their needs through her professional learning pursuits. She consistently uses best practices for gifted (and all) students in her classroom and acts as a mentor for other teachers." Wolcott Elementary School principal Scott Dunn said he is "proud to work with such a dedicated educator like Lisa".

2018 CAG Educator of the Year

The Connecticut Association for the Gifted named New Canaan Saxe Middle School Gifted/Talented Teacher, Jean Caffrey, the CAG 2018 'Educator of the Year'. Caffrey was nominated by Karen Campe, a parent of two of Jean Caffrey's former students. In nominating Caffrey, Campe wrote "Jean fosters students' intellectual progress while simultaneously promoting their growth as young adult learners. Caffrey was honored at an awards ceremony during CAG's Annual Members Dinner at the Inn at Middletown on May 16, 2018.

2017 CAG Educator of the Year

John Ferrero, STEM Teacher at the Macdonough School in Middletown is CAG's 2017 Educator of the Year.  "STEM Superhero" might be a more fitting title for John Ferrero than "STEM Teacher". Each year John gathers an eclectic group of gifted students from throughout Middletown and provides them with rich, dynamic programming that is as diverse as their interests and needs. He ignites their passions and fuels their drive for learning. Under his direction students utilize technology to code, create games, publish newspapers, print 3D models, and demonstrate their learning. A gifted child's brain does not stop when the day's lessons are done, nor does John's cape come off when the bell rings. John facilitates the district's STEM afterschool clubs including Odyssey of the Mind, Scratch, Lego League, and Maker Camp, runs the STEM Summer Camp, and chairs Minds in Motion Middletown. For Middletown's gifted students, John is more than a teacher, he's a crusader, rescuing them from a traditional curriculum and providing them with opportunities to thrive.

2016 CAG Educator of the Year

Dr. Angela Rossbach is the Principal of Warren Elementary School, and was appointed by the Superintendent of Schools in Fall 2015 to be the Coordinator for a proposed Talented and Gifted Program for Regional School District 6 (Warren, Morris and Goshen).

Since September 2015 Angela has worked collaboratively with CAG Board member Nancy Eastlake, PhD, and the Gifted Steering Committee selected to assist in program development. The committee is composed of administrators, classroom and special area teachers, and BOE members. Some of the teachers and BOE members are also district parents, giving the committee a well-rounded view of the district's needs. Angela has enthusiastically championed the development of gifted services for the district just as she is keenly sensitive to the learning and enrichment needs of all students. Highly organized, progressive and proactive, an excellent communicator, Angela is to be commended for her vision and action. "I have no doubt that as the comprehensive RSD 6 Gifted Program, Year 1 is 'rolled out' in Fall 2016 Angela will be guiding and continuing to craft a program for gifted and high-ability students that RSD 6 and the State of Connecticut will be excited to call their own" said Eastlake.

"Much more can be said about Angela's professional educational background, but I believe her current engagement in gifted program development speaks to all earlier facets of her training and work," added Eastlake. "She is a gifted educator".

Dr. Rossbach was presented with her award by Nancy Eastlake, PhD, and Jon Stoner, CAG President, at the CAG Annual Members Dinner May 10, 2016, at Gusto Trattoria in Milford.  

2015 CAG Educator of the Year

Kathleen Peters-Durrigan, Principal of Ridge Road Elementary School, North Haven, was awarded the 2015 CAG Educator of the Year award at the CAG Annual Members' Dinner May 12 at Gusto, Middletown. The award was presented by Ann Means, Executive Director, and parent Katie Kenney-O'Shaughnessey.




2013 CAG Educator of the Year

Nancy Eastlake, Quest Program Coordinator, West Hartford Public Schools, was awarded the 2013 CAG Educator of the Year award at the CAG Annual Member's Dinner May 22 at the Inn at Middletown. John Pellino, CAG president, presented the award to Nancy.


2012 CAG Administrator of the Year

Bonnie O'Regan, the Advanced Learning Program Facilitator for the Greenwich Public School District, has been named the 2012 CAG Administrator of the Year.  Bonnie was nominated for her award by parents in the Greenwich school district.

"In one short year (since taking over as Advanced Learning Program Facilitator) she transformed ALP into a well-oiled machine,” one nominating parent said.  Parents also credited O’Regan with forming collaborative partnerships with program coordinators in other disciplines as well as with regular classroom teachers and appreciated both the transparency she introduced to the ALP admission process as well as the clarification of admission criteria.

Other comments in O'Regan's nomination reflected this sentiment.  "Bonnie is exceptional in every way.  She is a tireless advocate for the needs of gifted students in Greenwich.  With Bonnie you never feel like you are working with a bureaucratic administrator, but rather a real person who has devoted her entire professional career to helping gifted students."

“She earned the trust and respect of the 900 families in the program.”

"While we’ve seen many school districts in Connecticut cut their gifted programs in recent years to focus instead on remediation" said CAG President Bianka Kortlan-Cox, "Greenwich, under the stewardship of Bonnie O’Regan, seems to be building up its Advanced Learning Program, not only maintaining academic challenge for its highest ability learners, but also utilizing elements of gifted pedagogy to improve achievement of all students in the District.”  CAG looks forward to working with Bonnie and parents in her district to help all students strive to reach their potential.

2011 CAG Administrator of the Year

Thanks to an overwhelming outflowing of support from her peers and colleagues, Ruth Lyons of the Renzulli Academy in Hartford has been named the 2011 CAG Administrator of the Year. 

As fellow teacher Kim Albro explains, though Ruth’s formal title is “Lead Teacher,” she doubles as the Academy’s administrator, handling all duties from scheduling and curriculum, to parent communication and discipline, to overseeing the staff and students. “She is one of the most dedicated professionals I have ever met,” Albro says.  “Her willingness to go above and beyond to service gifted students is evident in everything she does.” 

Lyons’ colleague Jonathan Crabtree, who teaches science at the Academy, echoes these sentiments.  “Ruth is probably the hardest-working and most dedicated individual I have ever come across in my teaching career.  She has shown an immense tirelessness to provide inner-city gifted youth an excellent education commensurate with their exceptional abilities.” 

Since relocating to Connecticut to work in the Academy’s high-poverty setting for gifted youth, she has been a calm presence despite the challenges her students bring to school every day.  “She is highly professional, deals quietly and calmly with many different student concerns, and never gives up on maintaining the highest levels of challenge and effort,” explains Dr. Sally Reis of UConn’s Neag School of Education.  Her proactive efforts have enabled children to engage in both honors and advanced classes, to participate in multiple extra-curricular activities during school, and to form friendships with other high ability students and help them ignore peer pressure to conform to patterns of achievement. 

For all this and more, CAG is pleased to name Ruth Lyons the 2010 CAG Administrator of the Year.  Congratulations Ruth!

2010 CAG Administrator of the Year

James Gaudreau, Principal of the Wilbert Snow Elementary School in Middletown, was  the CAG Administrator of the Year for 2010.

“From the moment Principal Gaudreau arrived at Snow School, he has demonstrated the utmost commitment to ensure that every child receives an education tailored to his/her needs,” said Jennifer Hadley and Roberta Avery, who nominated Mr. Gaudreau for the award. “Although significant resources are directed to helping bring children up to grade level, he has always made sure that gifted and talented students at Snow receive the creative and challenging environment that they need to thrive.”

“Mr. Gaudreau has trained and supported classroom teachers in providing differentiated lessons for advanced students during the regular classroom day and offered enrichment programs before and after school and at recess. He has also gone so far as to teach some of these programs himself in order to strengthen students’ understanding that learning is both fun and a top priority.”

“As Principal, he works closely with the PTO to bring in the cultural events and workshops that are so important to providing a rich school environment, and he has been an enthusiastic and tireless committee member for Snow School’s Minds in Motion. Mr. Gaudreau is a key reason that the atmosphere in Snow School warmly encourages academic exploration and growth, and that learning is celebrated as an exciting opportunity and responsibility.”

Principal Gaudreau was presented his award at a Middletown Board of Education meeting. He was also invited to participate in a pre-conference discussion panel at the New England Conference on Gifted and Talented Education entitled Meeting the Needs of Your Gifted and High-Ability Learners on a Tight Budget.

2009 CAG Administrator of the Year

Joan Glass, the Instructional Specialist in charge of the Academically Talented (AT) program in the Norwalk Public School District, was awarded the second annual CAG Administrator of the Year Award, recognizing her contributions to gifted children over the past year.

As parents in her school district have come to appreciate, Joan has developed and run a number of parent education sessions in Norwalk over the past year. She has actively engaged families in her schools through communication outreach and has implemented programs to meet their concerns, including an after school pilot program meeting the social and emotional needs of gifted elementary students, as well as establishing an expansion of the district's summer program to include a segment helping AT students transition to the increased rigors of middle school.

In addition to her focus in Norwalk, Joan has sought out contacts and resources across the state, volunteering to sit on the CAG board of directors, and establishing and chairing the Gifted Education Leadership (GEL) Council of Connecticut: a consortium of gifted education program administrators and directors who meet to discuss best practices and share information on their programs.

Thanks to Joan for everything she does for her students, families, and fellow educators and congratulations on being named the Connecticut Association for the Gifted 2009 Administrator of the Year.

2008 CAG Administrator of the Year

Joan Follo, Director of Curriculum & Instruction in the town of North Branford, was the recipient of the inaugural CAG Administrator of the Year Award. This award is given to an administrator who has made significant contributions for gifted children over the past year.

Since North Branford had no budget or formal support for gifted and talented students, Joan brought the parents of the gifted students together to form a group called POETS – Parents of Exceptionally Talented Students. She has helped them to research programs geared to the needs of gifted and high-ability students and recommended and implemented specific in-school and after-school enrichment programs.

Over the last two years Joan has had four teachers (one from each level) trained at UCONN’s Confratute. Those teachers are now the district’s Gifted and Talented Resource Educators who consult with building level teachers and specialists in planning and providing activities for students and training for teachers. After hearing the strong concerns regarding the need for guidance counselors to be trained in G&T in order for the children to get help and advice specifically geared to them, she worked with the building principals to have this happen.

Joan has indeed made a significant positive difference for the gifted and talented students of North Branford and deserves this special recognition and appreciation from CAG. Congratulations to Joan!

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