Ritchey J. Ricci Teacher of the Year Award

Our program featured the presentation of the 2022 Ritchey J. Ricci Teacher of the Year award. The winning teacher is given $1,000 to use in some way in their classroom. Chair Shelly Gottlieb thanked Ritchey for creating the Award and for identifying the need to reward hard working teachers that do not receive nearly enough praise nor recognition. The pandemic helped illuminate the vital contribution that teachers make to the next generation and the health of our society. Teachers are dealing with increasing social, emotional, and behavioral challenges resulting from the pandemic and more than a year of online learning.

The 2022 winner is Erik Everett who teaches Innovation and Design, as well as 6 other classes, at Wilson High School. He has been teaching for 10 years, and all within the same School District. He enjoys playing a role in the lives of students as they prepare for life after High School. He plans to use the Award money to partner with IU20 and Life Skills students to design, produce, and sell a product.


The 2021 winner Denise McGaughran joined us to report on her use of last year’s award money. As she puts it, she did a lot of spending. She arranged for her students to attend a virtual autopsy featuring a diseased heart that was enlarged due to cardiomyopathy. She bought posters and visual aids for the Anatomy and Physiology class. The hematology unit received blood typing kits. Phlebotomy arms allowed students to practice drawing blood. Students learned to tie knots using suture kits. Surgeon Showdown competitions encouraged team building and added an element of fun. The new equipment allowed Denise to have discussions with students regarding a wide range of potential occupations.