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Sarah Swiger Award

Sarah Swiger served Winchester many years as a School Committee member, community activist and education advocate. Her work was recognized across Massachusetts, her death three years ago is a loss that is still keenly felt by her family, colleagues and educators.

WFEE is proud to announce that Karen Fagan, McCall educator, is the recipient of the 2017 Sarah Swiger Award.

"My job is to teach French, but it is so much more than that. I tell my students that we are a team (it's one of the first words in French that they learn). I want my classroom to be a place where students can feel safe, supported, heard, valued and challenged to give their best. I want them to have joy and fun in learning."

Karen Fagan, 2017 Swiger Award Winner

Karen is a French teacher at McCall Middle School but is known to colleagues and students for empathy as well as her skills in the classroom. In nominating Karen, a colleague wrote:

"Karen connects with the students on an emotional level, building their confidence and motivation. She cares about how students FEEL, rather than focusing on their academic prowess. Karen will take class time to have an open conversation about why the students may feel stressed or anxious and what to do about it. "

It is that approach to education that makes Karen Fagan the perfect recipient of the Swiger Award. Instituted in memory of long time school committee member, early supporter of WFEE and community activist Sarah Swiger, the Swiger award is given annually to an educator who embodies a commitment to all students, an understanding of the needs of the whole child and devotion to community service. The first recipient of the award in 2016 was WHS educator and coach John Fleming.

The Swiger Award comes with a $1,000.00 grant to be used by the recipient for professional development, programming at his or her school or for a classroom project. "We were overwhelmed by the quality of all our nominees. We heard about classroom teachers, teaching assistants, specialists and nurses," said WFEE Executive Director Caren Connelly. "But Karen stood out as someone who's whole life is dominated by service provided to others and concern for all students. We think Sarah Swiger would be pleased with our choice and proud of all our nominees."