In partnership with Sarasota County Schools, and in memory of Chuck Barancik, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation recently recognized five Sarasota County teachers for going above and beyond in their profession.
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.”
The semi-annual prize acknowledges five outstanding teachers on Chuck’s birthday in May and five on Margery Barancik’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.
Chuck Barancik’s spring semester awardees are Tessa Healy, Wilkinson Elementary; Megan Wink, Lakeview Elementary; Michelle Rivas, Gulf Gate Elementary; Dorothy Rieger, McIntosh Middle; and Melissa Dweck, Sarasota High.
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.
Every 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.
“In our eyes, teachers are superheroes, and this is our way of recognizing them for what they do each day,” says Teri A. Hansen, president and CEO of the Barancik Foundation.
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.
The Barancik Foundation has made an ongoing commitment to award the 10 $5,000 teacher grants each year.