SPEFSheraton_117_resizedSTAMFORD, CT – March 30, 2016 – Over 180 community members gathered at The Sheraton Stamford Hotel on Thursday, March 24th to join the Stamford Public Education Foundation as it recognized businesses and community leaders for their commitment and service to education in Stamford. This year’s Excellence in Education Awards honored:

  • Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for its thought leadership and innovation in the area of education and generosity in helping SPEF pursue its mission (SPEF Philanthropy Award).
  • Robert Phillips, SPEF’s former Board President and long-time Director, for his continued guidance and support over the past 20 years (SPEF Leadership Award).

At the event, Jaime Watson, 1st Grade teacher at Stillmeadow Elementary School was announced as the winner of the SPEF Educator Award for her dedication to enriching the lives of students and creating an exceptional learning environment for Stamford students. In addition to the award she also received a $1,000 classroom donation.

Excellence in Education raised much-needed funds for providing educational resources such as mentoring, free book distributions, tutoring and more, to the families of Stamford Schools. Special thanks to our sponsors for their support: Pitney Bowes, GE Asset Management, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, RBS, Royall Lyme, First County Bank, Purdue Pharma, AFB Management, Berkowitz Law Firm, Barbara Aronica-Buck & Peter Buck, European Workmanship, Tom & Patti Gawlak, Grenauer Insurance, Eileen & Fred Springer, Stamford Bank & Trust, and Serendipity.

The evening began with a networking and cocktail reception featuring music from Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic as well as craft beer tastings from Half-Full and Two Roads breweries and wine tastings. The Awards Program started with a brief musical performance by 20 students from Project Music and the national anthem performed by Shayla Hernandez of Stamford-based Pop Music Academy, with Arda Ocal, SPEF mentor and WWE Broadcaster, as Master of Ceremonies. Presentations were delivered by SPEF Chief Executive Officer Matthew Quinones, SPEF Board Co-President Barbara Aronica-Buck, State Senator Carlo Leone, and Mayor David Martin. The most touching and inspirational moment of the evening was the arrival of one of SPEF’s Tutoring pairs to the stage. Stamford High School student William Martinez and his tutor Stephanie Marinello shared how meaningful and life-changing it is to be part of SPEF’s Tutoring Program.