STAMFORD, CT – March 3, 2016 – The Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) today announced nominees for the SPEF Educator of the Year Award. The winner of the award, which will be announced at the Foundation’s 2016 Excellence in Education Awards on Thursday, March 24th at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel, will receive a $1,000 donation for their classroom. The SPEF Educator Award nominees for 2016 are: George Beratis of Stamford High School, Christine Bisceglie of Academy of Information Technology and Engineering. Cara Denison of Rogers International School, Efralim Diaz of Dolan Middle School, Jim Forde of Cloonan Middle School, Melissa Smith of Julia A. Stark Elementary School, and Jaime Watson of Stillmeadow Elementary School. Today SPEF also announced two Excellence in Education Award recipients, who are being honored for their leadership roles in education: Robert Phillips for his guidance and support to SPEF over the past 20 years and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for its thought leadership and innovation in the area of education and its generosity in helping SPEF pursue its mission. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to recognize these seven educators for their dedication to enriching the educational experience of their students. Additionally, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of SPEF’s Leadership Award than Bob Phillips. He has been an integral part of shaping SPEF and continues to support the Foundation as we build our future. Equally impressive is SPEF’s partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, which continues to be a leader in the area of education and is a critical partner in helping SPEF achieve our mission,” said SPEF CEO Matthew Quinones. Each year, the Excellence in Education Awards recognize businesses and community leaders for their commitment and service to education in Stamford. It is an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and dedication of both Stamford’s business community and the devoted individuals who help our students perform better, both in school and beyond into post-secondary education and the working world. This year, SPEF invited Parent-Teacher Organizations in Stamford Public Schools to nominate one outstanding educator from their school. The SPEF Board of Directors then reviewed each nomination form that was submitted and selected the winner based on the educator’s dedication to creating an exceptional learning environment for Stamford students. Excellence in Education Awards is taking place on Thursday, March 24, 2016, at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel (700 East Main Street, Stamford, CT) from 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Tickets for the evening, which includes hors d’oeuvres, drinks and inspirational presentations, are available by calling 203-965-7733. Sponsorships are also still available.