Amherst coach wins Valley teaching award

  • From left to right are Scott Hemlin, Mahar principal; Kelly Ziomek, Mahar health teacher and award winner; and Tari Thomas, superintendent. Contributed photo

Thursday, February 22, 2018

ORANGE — Kelly Ziomek, a health teacher at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School, is a 2018 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award winner.

Ziomek, who is also the head coach of the girls lacrosse team at Amherst Regional High School, has been employed by the Orange school district since 2007. She has been described as “undoubtedly one of the best teachers in our school. She makes connections with students that will impact them for the rest of their lives.”

In addition to being what others have called “an inspiring teacher,” Ziomek is Mahar’s representative to the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Regional School Health Task Force, and has helped develop the Teen Health Survey, which helps local leaders develop initiatives that directly affect students.

Ziomek will be honored at a banquet for Excellence in Teaching Award winners at the Log Cabin in Holyoke on April 26. In addition, she will receive a $500 teacher award and other non-cash prizes.

The banquet program will feature an award presentation, a film featuring projects of classroom innovators and a speaker from the business community.

Since 2003, the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Program has recognized outstanding teachers in western Massachusetts annually for their impact on students, colleagues, and schools. The Excellence in Teaching Awards Program is made possible by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the George A. and Irene E. Davis Foundation, and MassMutual Life Insurance Company.

Philanthropist Harold Grinspoon said, “Nothing is dearer to my heart than educators. Every teacher has that magic possibility of impacting the lives of children in very important ways. Along with my funding partners at the Davis Foundation and MassMutual, I am thrilled to honor these talented local educators.”

For more information about the Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards Program, contact Susan Kline by email at sue@hgf.org.