Barancik Foundation Names Five Teachers as Ripple Effect Award Winners

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Atwater Elementary teacher Katie Leworthy and her class. Photo courtesy of the Barancik Foundation.

Teachers change lives every day. Many of us find ourselves conjuring up memories of how a teacher changed our journey during important moments in our personal and professional lives. Outside of family, teachers are one of the important factors in shaping a child’s future. Amazing teachers can lead to amazing trajectories for growth and change and success in a child’s life. Recently, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation recognized five Sarasota County teachers for going above and beyond in their profession. Barancik Foundation named five Ripple Effect Teacher Awards winners in partnership with Sarasota County Schools in memory of Margery Barancik. The semi-annual prize acknowledges five outstanding teachers on Chuck’s birthday in May and five on Margie’s birthday in September. Each teacher recognized for their positive impact on their students’ lives is awarded $5,000 to spend on professional development experiences, material, and equipment for their classrooms. Margie’s fall awardees are: Amy Baldwin, Gocio Elementary; Xiomara Dearing, Ashton Elementary; Dr. Carmen Larson, Sarasota Middle School; Katie Leworthy, Atwater Elementary; Jamie Davidson, Woodland Middle School.

A surprise to the teachers, each winner was recognized by the superintendent, their principal, and members of the School District during a special ceremony at their schools. The recipients were commended for their innovative efforts in building positive cultural changes at their schools—among their students and peers. All were recognized for the lasting impact they have on their students. Launched in 2021, the award was inspired by the late Barancik couple’s philosophy on their charitable giving, often noting, “We can’t change the world, but we can change little pieces of it and hope for a ripple effect.” Facilitated by the School District, each Sarasota County principal nominated one teacher to be considered for the award. A committee made up of community leaders then identified the top candidates. Previous winners have used the funds for classroom improvement projects, professional development workshops across the country, and items like musical equipment and state-of-the-art robots to help pique students’ interest in the classroom. Barancik Foundation has made an ongoing commitment to award the 10 $5,000 teacher grants each year.

Pictured: Atwater Elementary teacher Katie Leworthy and her class. Photo courtesy of the Barancik Foundation.

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