Hartford Public Schools Announces 2020 Teacher of the Year

Hartford Public Schools Announces 2020 Teacher of the Year

Virtual Teacher of the Year Online Event Celebrates the Excellence of Our Hartford Teachers.
The winner of the 2020 Teacher of the Year Award for Hartford Public Schools was announced this evening in an online event hosted by Hartford Public Schools.

In light of precautions surrounding the COVD-19 health crisis, the competition for Hartford’s 2020 Teacher of the Year moved online, and began with 37 teachers nominated by their schools to participate in this year’s selection process. Each nominee underwent an intensive screening and interview process conducted by a district-wide Teacher of the Year Committee made up of Hartford Public Schools curriculum directors, officials from the Hartford Federation of Teachers, and previous award winners.

All nominees must be tenured K-12 teachers in the Hartford Public Schools system. They must exhibit exemplary teaching skills, show commitment to the belief that all children can learn and must be active in community and humanitarian affairs.

Last year’s winner was Narcisco Moquete, a Fourth Grade teacher at SAND School.

After its review, the committee selected three finalists. Each finalist was then asked to complete a series of written essay questions for the final evaluation.

This event was funded through generous local sponsors. The lead sponsors for the Teacher of the Year awards ceremony were VOYA Financial and Sonitrol. Other Major Sponsors included:  Autumn Transportation, Newfield Construction, Downes Construction, Hartford Federation of Teachers, Ricoh, LLC, Pullman and Comley, Bear’s Restaurant Group, City Steam Brewery, and Church & Main Deli.

The three FINALISTS are:

  • Shakira Perez, an English teacher at Classical Magnet School
  • John Tusch, an English and Computer Science teacher at Global Communications Academy
  • Benjamin McLane, a 5th Grade teacher at Wish Museum School

Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez and 2019 Teacher of the Year Narciso Moquete served as presenters of the 2020 Teacher of the Year award and announced the winner, Shakira Perez.



You may watch the entire Virtual 2020 Teacher of the Year Awards event here.  Not to be missed: Ms. Perez’s acceptance speech at 38:00.


Wish School students perform “Don’t Stop Believing” for Finalist Benjamin McLane


Full List of this year’s nominees:

School / Location Candidate name
Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School Alicia McKernan
Betances Learning Lab Magnet School Erica Ellison
Betances STEM Magnet School Suela Bruko
Breakthrough Magnet School North Valerie Michaels
Breakthrough Magnet School South Patrick Habersang
Bulkeley High School Belinda Perez
Burns Latino Studies Academy Teresita Hernandez
Burr School Erin Tingley
Capital Preparatory Magnet Brittany Halleck
Classical Magnet Shakira Perez
Dwight Bellizzi School Courtney Proto
Environmental Sciences Magnet at Mary Hooker Elisa Berggren
Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan Joseph Parker
Global Communications Academy John Tusch
Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College Steven Wolf
Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy Angela Kumm
Hartford Pre-K Magnet School Jessica Costa
Hartford Public High School Frank Giannini
Kennelly School Jason Kahn
Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts Renata Tavares
MD Fox School Rose Alvarado
McDonough Middle School Joshua Hinrichs
Milner Middle School Tynisha Tyson
MLK Middle School Julie Medina
Naylor School Barrett Marlan
Parkville Community School Colleen Signori
Pathways Academy of Technology & Design Matthew Stroop
Rawson School Amber Riley-Wilson
Renzulli Gifted & Talented Academy Adrienn Olmstead
Sanchez Elementary School Timothy Bojanowski
SAND School Lindsay Tinker
Sport & Medical Sciences Academy Cynthia Petrillo
University High Magnet Nicole Silenok
Weaver High School Cecilia Chang
Webster MicroSociety Magnet School Abigail Sutcliffe
West Middle School Toni Johnson
Wish Museum School Benjamin McLane


This event was made possible by the generosity of our Sponsors