Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations for the Outstanding Educator and the Golden Acorn Awards. Below are this year's award recipients.
- The Outstanding Educator Award
This award is established by National PTA and awarded by Bell PTSA to an individual who has made significant contributions in their community to enhance the educational outcomes of all children or youth. An educator is not limited to a teacher and may be defined as a teacher, assistant, specialist, support staff, administrator, or community member.
- Golden Acorn Award
This award is established by National PTA and awarded by Bell PTSA to an individual who has provided exemplary volunteer service to children and youth in our community. The Golden Acorn is given for continued and dedicated service. Nominees for this award include volunteers that dedicate their time to advocating for children and supporting the mission of our PTA: To create and foster opportunities that enrich and support our children, teachers, and community.
Outstanding Educator 2020-2021: Shannon Greer
We are honored to have Shannon at Bell and are thrilled to present her with this award. Below are examples of the nominations submitted by the Bell community:
- Shannon is an outstanding educator and has made a significant impact on our learning community in numerous ways. First, she focuses on the growth of each of her students as whole beings. Not only does she encourage her students to strive for academic excellence, she also reminds them of the benefits and importance of making mistakes and being gentle with oneself. She holds weekly social justice discussions where students can share their perspectives on topics such as racism, bullying, and self-esteem. She also pushes them to ponder about higher level thinking questions to research and present to their peers. Second, Shannon is always looking for ways to empower her students. For example, she involves them regularly in planning class parties and gives them ownership over many party decisions. At a recent virtual staff meeting, she gave her students the opportunity to provide musical entertainment to the staff. She has also encouraged a group of students to present a proposal to the Bell PTSA to purchase Breakout EDU kits for the entire school. Last, Shannon cares deeply about her students and establishes a strong connection with each of them. It is not unusual to see Shannon outside at recess, interacting and playing games with her students. She runs a "mood meter" check with her students daily to ensure that she can identify students that need a little extra support and encouragement. To build connection during remote learning, she made personalized friendship bracelets by hand for every student in her class, using their favorite colors.
- As a brand new family in LWSD and Bell Elementary in this 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic year, we approached this year with some nervousness, but it turns out, we didn't need to be. Mrs. Greer greeted our whole family with warmth and hospitality. She made our child feel a sense of belonging and confidence from the first day of school even with the challenges of connecting remotely. This school year has been hard on multiple levels, but Mrs. Greer's care and teaching has been a steady guide of hope and optimism each and every day. She shows up in her classroom ready to engage each student with compassion and a "we can do hard things together!" attitude. She has been an outstanding communicator with parents and students, setting expectations as well as aspirations...and most importantly, a model of grace for mistakes or when things that did not go quite as planned. Our child was given opportunities to step up in new ways outside his comfort zone and she cheered him on. Also, as a mixed race family, we really appreciated her commitment to anti-racism and social justice in the classroom, which really made for an inclusive and welcoming classroom community. Mrs. Greer is an outstanding educator who goes above and beyond and we are so grateful for who she is and how she pours her heart into each and every student.
Golden Acorn 2020-2021: Leslie Victor
Leslie Victor served as Co-Treasurer this year. In addition to her Co-Treasurer role, she also chairs the Pantry Pack program. We are thankful for her service to our community and honored to present her with this award. Below are examples of the nominations submitted by the Bell community:
- Leslie's dedication to our school and our community is phenomenal. She gives so much of her time to Bell and always has a positive, can-do attitude. She is passionate about ensuring our food-insecure families at Bell receive food every week via the Pantry Pack program (every week she puts together bags of food for 32 Bell families). She also ensures all the Bell classrooms have stocked snack bins, so no child is hungry at school. In addition to being co-treasurer and chairing the Pantry Pack program, Leslie also dedicates a tremendous amount of time to support many Bell PTSA programs (e.g., Holiday Gift Drive, Spirit Wear, Book Exchange, Walk to School Week, Popcorn Fridays, Supporting Bell Families In-Need, etc.). If there is an event at Bell, Leslie will be there helping out - and always with a smile on her face. This community is so lucky to have Leslie!
- The work Leslie puts in to pantry packs and making sure snack bins are full is inspiring. Making sure Bell's families in need have adequate food over the weekend is why I nominate Leslie for the Golden Acorn Award
- Leslie's unwavering dedication to Pantry Packs allows students with food insecurities to take food home weekly. Leslie also ensure that each classroom has a box of snacks for students who are unable to bring snacks from home
- I nominate Lelie Victor for her tireless work on behalf of the Pantry Pack program, PTSA, and any activity or event that benefits all the Bell students and staff.
Golden Acorn 2020-2021: Brena Gattuccio
Brena Gattuccio served as PTSA President this year. We are thankful for her service to our community and honored to present her with this award. Below are examples of the nominations submitted by the Bell community:
- Brena took on leadership of Bell PTSA during an unprecedented time: a time when students, staff, volunteers, and parents were not able or even allowed to be together at school; a time when students and families were confused, many of whom were suffering and looking for leadership; a time when the Bell community needed their community MOST but couldn't be together. Brena devoted herself to stepping up, reaching out, and offering her full support. She recognized immediately that communication was key to making sure that Bell students and families felt supported and connected. In her first few months of leadership Brena redesigned the Bell PTSA website, making it more user-friendly and intuitive. She reinstated and redesigned the weekly Bulldog Blast newsletter, ensuring that all Bell staff and families were receiving up-to-date Bell community news regardless of not being together. Despite being at home with her son for remote schooling, Brena recognized the need to continue looking forward and to think about what teachers, staff and students would need when in-person instruction resumed. She continued fundraising efforts, sent surveys to parents and teachers, organized teacher and staff wishlists, coordinated virtual field trips, and advocated for school building needs at a time when the building was still mostly empty. Brena recognized that the Bell playground was not accessible to students with physical disabilities and petitioned the school board for funding to build a new playground accessible to ALL students. And this is only a small example of all she has done in less than a year. She has worked tirelessly for the Bell community during a very chaotic time. I imagine that many PTSAs across the nation have simply stopped functioning....Brena stepped up to ensure that that didn't happen at Bell and in doing so she ensured that school administrators, teachers, staff, students and parents felt supported and connected during the pandemic.
- Brena’s hard work and dedication to Bell and the PTSA has been inspirational to witness. She goes above and beyond for the school and the kiddos in order to make our community a better place. She’s also been the driving force in getting Bell a new Playground in 2022, which will be a boost for the whole community. She’s the absolute BEST President we could ask for!!!
- I nominate Brena Gattuccio for her dedication to our community and tirelessly accomplishing so much like advocacy, the new website, an inclusive playground, and being a real life superhero!!
- Brena has tirelessly contributed to the Bell PTSA and community this year. As PTSA president, she has redone our PTSA website, lead robust communication efforts through social media, and raised the bar for General meetings. Brena goes above and beyond to deliver a high-level of excellence.