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Julia A. Stark educator wins Stamford teacher of year award

March 13, 2019 GMT

STAMFORD — A fifth grade Julia A. Stark Elementary School was selected as the 2019-2020 Stamford Teacher of the Year.

Katelyn Tavolacci, who has spent her 12-year education career at Stark, was announced as the winner and is automatically entered as a candidate for the State of Connecticut Teacher of the Year award.

During her career, Tavolacci has launched an after-school leadership academy, served on the literacy curriculum committee, was a member of the school data team, and a former spotlight winner and Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) Excellence in Education nominee.

“I am incredibly honored to have been designated as Stamford Teacher of the Year,” Tavolacci said. “As an SPS graduate myself, I am even more appreciative of the opportunity to represent Stamford’s community of outstanding teachers and those of Stark School.

The committee also named Turn of River eighth grade Language Arts teacher Debra Wilson as first finalist and Westhill High School World Language Teacher Ann Herz as second finalist.

Tavolacci spent her first three years as a special education co-teacher. In addition to her current post as a Grade 5 teacher, she has also served for several years as a first grade teacher and literacy teacher.

“It is no surprise to me that Katelyn was chosen as SPS Teacher of the Year,” said Julia A. Stark Principal Jennifer DeRubeis. “She has a way of nurturing all of her students and enables them to ignite their own internal flame and passion for learning and collaboration. The Stark community couldn’t be prouder of her dedication and commitment to students and families.”

Tavolacci holds a Bachelor of Science degree in inclusive elementary/special education from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts degree in literacy education and a sixth year certification in curriculum and instruction. Tavolacci’s Stamford roots include attending Springdale Elementary School, Dolan Middle School, and graduating from Stamford High School in 2003.

Tavolacci, Wilson and Herz will be honored at the SPEF Excellence in Education Awards event on Thursday, March 21, at the Stamford Sheraton Hotel, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are required.

ignacio.laguarda@stamfordadvocate.com