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High praise for 21 Boca teachers and a beloved coach’s memory

Their peers picked 21 Boca public school teachers to honor at the 33rd annual Boca Raton Teacher of the Year Awards.

Calusa Elementary chose beloved coach and educator Scott Johnson’s memory to salute.

Art, music, science, math, reading and special education were among teachers tapped for their expertise. See the full list below.

Principals praised the selection on videos and most attended Thursday’s banquet at Office Depot Global Headquarters in Boca.

“Her heart is a teacher’s heart,” Boca High principal Dr. Susie King said about Sarah Call, who won this award in 2013.

Some students may find math hard, “but she finds a way to reach them,” Don Estridge High Tech Middle principal Rachel Capitano said about Mary Beth Giddings.

Richard Andreacchio tripled the choral music program at Olympic Heights High.  His students performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall last year.

Literacy teacher Joann Tatham “brings reading to life for our kids,” said Sunrise Park Elementary principal Alicia Steiger.

School board chairman and Teacher of the Year founder Frank Barbieri Jr. presents one of 22 awards to Mary Donnelly, a science teacher at Boca Raton Middle School.

Scott Johnson’s family and parents accepted a Lifetime Achievement award for the impact he made at the school for 20 years. They received a standing ovation.

There’s an outdoor mural dedicated to his memory at Calusa, said principal Dianne Rivelli-Schreiber. She was honored earlier Thursday as principal of the year at the FAU Foundation’s Green Schools Awards Reception.

The teachers had their say, too.

Cited for his Holocaust and anti-bigotry teachings at Omni Middle, “the students give me hope for tomorrow,” said Bogan Paraschivoiu.

“Who hasn’t had one teacher that molded us into who we are today? They are the true everyday heroes,” Peter Gary, event chair and Pinnacle Advertising CEO said to set the tone for the evening.

“My seventh-grade history teacher acted out the battle of Gettysburg in a sandbox,” Office Depot executive v.p. and chief retail officer Kevin Moffit told the crowd in his welcome.

School board chairman and Sunrise member Frank Barbieri Jr. started this event 33 years ago as a club event. “Frank is really the reason we are here,” Gary said.

Barbieri wouldn’t accept the praise, but his commitment to public education was clear. Aside from his school board duties, all three of he and Rita’s grandkids are in public schools in suburban Boca, he said.

The teachers deserved these honors, said schools superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy, who had the last word. “Thank you for all you do for the kids of Palm Beach County.”

Each teacher received $200 from Sunrise Rotary and $100 gift card from Office Depot.

Sunrise Rotary and Teacher of the Year have the same things in common, said club president Tim Sharp. “For those who see a world where people unite and take action for education and literacy.”

The club uses the proceeds for education majors’ scholarships and teachers’ continuing education. The club’s Danny Spandau co-chaired the 13-member event committee.

Students at West Boca High School’s culinary academy prepared dessert for the 33rd annual Boca Raton Teacher of the Year Awards Banquet.

West Boca High’s culinary academy students prepared the desserts. Spanish River High’s jazz band and singers from Boca High’s chorus performed. Olympic Heights Marine JROTC honor guard led the program. Claudia Shea, the school district’s communications director, emceed.

Here’s the teachers who were honored:

James Wade, Addison Mizner Elementary School

Jennifer O’Sullivan, A.D. Henderson University School

Theo Wiles, Boca Raton Elementary School

Mary Donnelly, Boca Raton Middle School

Sarah Call, Boca Raton Community High School

Scott Johnson, Calusa Elementary School

Mary Cavailoi, Coral Sunset Elementary School

Laura Cash, Del Prado Elementary School

Mary Beth Giddings, Don Estridge High Tech Middle School

Sunshine Grunstein, Eagles Landing Middle School

Kimberly Attias, Hammock Pointe Elementary School

Scott Fontaine, J.C. Mitchell Elementary School

Susan Kinderman, Loggers’ Run Middle School

Richard Andreacchio, Olympic Heights High School

Bogan Paraschivoiu, Omni Middle School

Kathleen Kaminsky, Sandpiper Shores Elementary School

Kevin McEnroe, Spanish River Community High School

Joann Tatham, Sunrise Park Elementary School

Annie Lombardo, Verde Elementary School

Catrina D’Annunzio, Waters Edge Elementary School

Jennifer Napuli, West Boca Community High School

Melissa Romero, Whispering Pines Elementary School

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