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Five outstanding Sarasota County Schools educators were recognized last week with the Ripple Effect Teacher Award for their expansive impact in the classroom and beyond.

Leaders from the school district and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation honored the winners in a series of surprise presentations at their schools.  Created by Barancik Foundation in memory of Chuck and Margie Barancik to celebrate exceptional Sarasota County public-school teachers, the Ripple Effect Award includes a $5,000 gift.

The five Sarasota County Schools teachers who received the award are:

  • Stacy Bellanca, Literacy Teacher, Garden Elementary School
  • Carrie Koontz, 2nd Grade Teacher, Taylor Ranch Elementary School
  • Jillian Nelson, ESE Resource Teacher, Sarasota Middle School
  • Brittany Smith, Music Teacher, Venice High School
  • Shannon Wynne, 5th Grade Teacher, Pine View School
John Annis presenting award plaque to Stacy Bellanca

“Teachers are one of the most crucial elements in a child’s educational journey,” said Terry Connor, Superintendent of Schools.  “It is a privilege to highlight the most recent Ripple Effect awardees.  Their dedication to their students, families, colleagues, and overall school communities is inspiring.”

John Annis, Carrie Koontz, Tara Spielman, and Terry ConnorAt each award presentation, Superintendent Connor read from the nomination letter submitted by the winning teacher’s principal.  The celebrations included district and school administrators, fellow teachers and staff, and enthusiastic students.  Barancik Foundation senior vice president John Annis described the affection and respect that Chuck and Margie Barancik had for teachers before he handed the winners a framed award certificate and their $5,000 check.

John Annis of Barancik Foundation presents a check to Venice High School teacher Brittany Smith

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Annis.  “Margie and Chuck knew that, outside of family, teachers are the people who have the greatest influence on a student’s future success.  This award is just one way that we try to show our beloved educators how much they mean to our community.”

Pine View School Principal Stephen Covert, teacher Shannon Wynne, and Barancik Foundation's Greg LubereckiThe latest Ripple Effect Teacher Awards were presented in May to commemorate Chuck Barancik’s birthday, which was May 27.  The Foundation will present five more awards in September in memory of Margie Barancik, who was a teacher by profession.  Nominations are submitted annually by school principals at the invitation of school district leadership and the Foundation.  Since 2021, Barancik Foundation has recognized 35 educators with the Ripple Effect Award.

About Barancik Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida.

1515 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 500, Sarasota FL 34236
The Barancik Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding.

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