The Achieve Foundation Awards Over $43,500 in Educator Grants Districtwide 

by The Achieve Foundation
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

From The Achieve Foundation

The Achieve Foundation has awarded $43,623 in grants to educators in the South Orange-Maplewood School District.  

The 36 grants, designed to be used for professional development, software, materials, and programs, ran the gamut of topics, proving that the educators in our district are as individual and creative as the grants themselves. Themes emerged including materials to aid in talking about race, history and lived experience; books to diversify the collections children have available to them; technology to help students and teachers connect and achieve across miles and laptops; and resources to help students cope with the stress of the unprecedented times in which we live. 

“Our grants committee was really impressed by the thoughtful and creative requests received back in June, and wishes we could fund each and every project. With distance learning in place and so many new challenges to solve, Achieve is thrilled to award 36 grants that address immediate needs during online learning and set students up for success when they return to  school in person. We appreciate all the amazing and innovative educators who applied this  year!” – Executive Director Eileen Collins Neri 

Congratulations to the well deserved grant recipients:  

Elementary Schools 

  • Jennifer Latimer for “Keeping it Real, Interactive E-books with Natural Voice and Fluency” Capstone Ebooks for use at all elementary schools (Clinton) 
  • Virginia Osewalt and Barbara Tsioni for “iSPIRE Online for Distance or In-Class Learning” (Jefferson) 
  • Maggie Tuohy for “From Garbage to Garden” (Seth Boyden) 
  • Shella Mesidor-Villard for “Equity Institute: Advancing Racial Equity in Education  Workshop” (Seth Boyden) 
  • Dianne Canzonieri and Elana Ris for “Magnificent Mathematicians” (Seth Boyden)
  • Marissa DeMartino for “Fun with Phonics” (Seth Boyden)
  • Sarah Haldeman for “Multicultural Literature for Social Emotional Learning and Anti-Bias  Discourse” (Seth Boyden) 
  • Susan Brody for “Book Clubs Need Better Books” (Seth Boyden) 
  • Sarah Fakhoury and Jesse Hein for “Let’s Talk About Race” (Seth Boyden) 
  • Erica Dulny for “High Interest, Low Level Books” and “Serious About Series!” (2 grants,  Seth Boyden) 
  • Catherine Campbell and Janine Poutre for “Audible Battle of the Books” (South  Mountain and Seth Boyden) 
  • Amy Popp for “ROAR Books to Support Equality for All” and “Virtual Author Visits” (2  grants,Tuscan) 
  • Deirdre Dore for “Encouraging, Supporting, and Facilitating Conversation in a Diverse  Classroom” (Tuscan) 
  • Claire Van Tine for “Reflections of My Class” (Tuscan) 

Middle Schools

  • Amy Pitucco for “Self Care Everywhere” (MMS)
  • Evyn Degnan for “WeVideo for MMS” (MMS)
  • Evyn Degnan, Rob Cohen, Monica Johnson and Ryan O’Dell for “Soundtrap” software (MMS)
  • Marc Kessler for “Mathalicious” (MMS) 
  • Ray Mantes for “Teaching for Equity and Justice” (MMS) 
  • Debra Silva for “Image Grammar” and “MMS Rocks” (2 grants, MMS) 
  • Avis Gibbons-Williams for “Building Spanish Language Proficiency through Literacy” (MMS)
  • Caroline Ogando for Upgrading the Dance Room, Club and Dance Concert at MMS
  • Diane Leick for “Being the Best Me!” Speech (MMS and SOMS) 
  • Kara Laviola for Tablets for the Drama Department (SOMS) 
  • Caitlin Dennehy and Hannah Govrin for “Mindful Behavior Support” (SOMS)
  • Juliann DiPietro for “The Reading Room” (SOMS) 
  • Maria Shoats for “Level Literacy Intervention System(LLI) Multi-Day Institute  Training” (SOMS)

Columbia High School

  • Peter Bauer for “Getting Smart About Practicing” software (funded through the Vanessa  Pollock Music Initiative)
  • Marilu Gregory and Laura Prato for “Mindfulness Support” 
  • Mark Richman for his “Stand-Up Math” grant 
  • James Nugent for “Trout in the Classroom” (adjusted for distance learning)
  • Bianca Silver to fund distance-learning appropriate experiment materials for her Senior  Science Research Class 
  • Michael Steiner to provide 40 “Writing Tablets for Math/Science Instruction” for online  teaching in the STEM Department 

The grants were made possible by the generous support and donations from the South  Orange-Maplewood community and the fundraising efforts by the Achieve Foundation.   

About Achieve 

Achieve is an independent 501(c)3 organization that serves as the local education foundation  for the School District of South Orange & Maplewood. Over the past two decades, the  organization has raised more than $4 million to champion academic excellence and equity in all  our public schools and build community through our programs and initiatives. Our flagship  Achieve Volunteer Tutor program has offered free tutoring to over 3000 students. We believe  that all students and educators flourish in a thriving, equitable educational environment.  

To donate, join or learn more about the Achieve Foundation, visit

Related Articles