Teacher of the Year

2023 Teacher-of-the-Year

Ashlee Hyatt


Name Year
 James Pepper 2022
 Christine Gamari+  2021
 Tara D'Iorio 2020
 Leanne Maguire^ 2019
 Brandy Zima 2018

Andrew Deacon^


Angelo Calabrese


Dawn Pollutro


Veronica Gelormino


Robin Ledversis


Patrick Richardson


Victor Leger


Barbara Hengstenberg


Sandra A. Mangan^


Donna Graham

Joanne Creedon 2007

Valerie Vitalo


Laraine Gnall

Wayne Splettstoeszer 2004
Eloise Farmer 2003
Mary McVerry 2002
Joan Kawecki 2001
Jeanne Marinelli-Woolley 2000
Pat Vallerand 1999
Janice Harrington 1998
Susan Pelchat* 1997
Georgeann Sabia 1996
Marion Valsecchi 1995
Betty Dowd 1994
Lisa Dahlberg 1993
Marie Gervasini 1992
Patty Pickard 1991
Suzanne Tocci 1990
Mary Scaia 1989


* CT Teacher of the Year
+  CT Teacher of the Year Finalist
^ CT Teacher of the Year Semifinalist 


Selection Process for
Torrington's Teacher-of-the-Year


Early in the spring the district launches the process for selecting its Teacher-of-the-Year.   Each school is encouraged to select a Teacher-of-the-Year to participate in the district selection process. The building nominees then complete reflective applications for review by a selection panel made up of former Torrington Teachers-of-the-Year.


The panel scores the applications using a rubric. Each of the question prompts reflect the state application process and ask for considerable deep reflection on teaching philosophy and style, knowledge of educational issues and trends, and evidence of involvement in the larger school community. Points are tallied to determine if a single candidate scores the best. If there is a tie, the selection committee will reach a majority consensus on the district representative.


During the convocation, the Assistant Superintendent recognizes all of the building level Teachers of the Year and then announces the name of the selected teacher. The Teacher-of-the-Year then speaks to the assembly.


During the following summer, Torrington's Teacher of the Year completes an application to be a candidate for the Connecticut Teacher of the Year. The Connecticut Teacher of the Year will be selected from a pool of district teacher of the year nominees.


The Connecticut Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952. It is sponsored by the Connecticut State Department of Education, Division of Teaching and Learning Programs and services, and ING. The program begins with the selection of a teacher of the year in each local district and continues to the national level, where the Connecticut Teacher of the Year becomes eligible for national honors.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic Inc. Two Connecticut teachers have been National Teachers of the Year: LeRoy Hay, an English teacher from Manchester, in 1983; and Dorothy Hamilton, a social studies teacher from Milford, in 1953. Five Connecticut teachers have been national finalists: Fie K. Budzinsky in 1996 (Portland), Shirley J. Gillis in 1981 (New London), Harold Frazier in 1964 (West Hartford), Helen Estes (Manchester) in 1963, and Marian Galbraith (Groton) in 2002.


The Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors teacher excellence. It does not attempt to select the "best" teacher; rather, to identify, from among many outstanding teachers of the year, one teacher to serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession. The program celebrates excellence in teaching by recognizing teachers who have inspired a love for learning in their students and who have distinguished themselves in the profession.

Duties of the Connecticut Teacher of the Year

The Connecticut Teacher of the Year and the three finalists serve as teacher-ambassadors for public education. They are appointed to various education advisory committees and become consultants to the Commissioner of Education. They present workshops; speak at education conferences and meetings; address student, civic, college and university, and governmental groups; and operate special programs in accordance with their interests and expertise. The Connecticut Teacher of the Year also represents the state at the national level--participating in national educational forums, National State Teacher of the Year Program planning and networking sessions, and U.S. Department of Education meetings.

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