Past Ed Award Recipients
2022 – Angela Bik
Former Assistant Superintendent Angela Bik worked for Newburyport Public Schools for 32 years, volunteering to sit on numerous boards including the Newburyport Education/Business Coalition and subsequently the NEF. Angela has also chaired various committees, participated in fundraisers, and worked with local businesses to strengthen the schools. Angela also connected major donors to school-related projects, allowing the Jacalyn Stuart Bennett Mindfulness and Wellness Space at the Nock/Molin to come to fruition. She encouraged innovation and never gave up on chances to promote dedicated science spaces and student involvement with nature in our community. Angela brought in outside scientists in to work with teachers and classrooms, envisioned STEM spaces, and then worked to ensure they were funded. Examples of this include the Nock science classrooms, Strem Chemical robotics lab and maker space, and the Bresnahan and Molin STEM labs. She has been a big supporter of NEF programs, including co-chair of the Partnership Grants committee and the conduit to teachers and projects for the Allocations Committee. When the schools abruptly shut down at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Angela jumped into action, coordinating a book program with the NEF, getting books into the hands of Newburyport’s students, thus connecting them to their teachers and classmates during remote learning.
2021 – Ryan Smith
Ryan is widely recognized for volunteering his time to raise the level of excellence not only in the Newburyport Public Schools, but also the level of excellence in Newburyport. Ryan has been an integral part of the NEF’s success, working as he typically does behind the scenes while giving others credit, in many different capacities. For years Ryan has managed the NEF’s quasi endowment pro bono. He and his company, LPL Financial, have been major sponsors of the NEF Golf Open and he has attended countless NEF events. Ryan is a member of the Rotary Club of Newburyport and has been crucial in matching our organization with funding to support our Preventing Summer Reading Loss Program, a program that subsidizes books for our most at-risk students. He has been a youth soccer coach for many years, mentoring hundreds of boys in town far beyond the soccer field. Ryan is also the community liaison for the Interact Club, a volunteer organization at the high school that annually volunteers at the auction and is critical to its success.
2020 – Jeff Gray
Jeff Gray has been an integral part of the NEF as a volunteer, board member and multiyear president. He is responsible for bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars into the organization through his fundraising, chairing the NEF Lighthouse Auction for three years, and bringing the poker tournament and golf tournament to fruition. He has been as a constant champion for the NEF, recruiting volunteers, collaborating with school administrators, donating and engaging donors.
2019 – Jay Iannini
Jay Iannini’s name has rightfully become synonymous with the NEF as he has been involved with the organization since 2008 in almost every capacity from volunteer to board member to president and auctioneer extraordinaire. The NEF thrived under his leadership and his ability to recruit countless talented and amazing people to volunteer for the organization. Jay’s involvement, vision and dedication are responsible for bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Newburyport public school system as he was a key player in bringing the Lighthouse Auction, Monte Carlo Night, The Music and Harvest Festival, and NEF Golf Open to fruition. Jay is someone who is willing to roll up his sleeves and do the heavy lifting whenever needed, especially when it comes to improving education for kids in our community. In addition to his involvement with the NEF, he was a vital leader in the successful Port Pride campaign and also filled a temporary seat on the School Committee when needed.
2018 – Megan Ashe
Megan’s contributions to the NEF are certainly immeasurable as she has made the mission of the NEF her own mission over the past 11 years. By tirelessly pouring her heart and soul into every aspect of the organization, she worked hard so students would have every resource available to ensure their success. She led the NEF as its president for 3 years, was an active board member the 3 years prior, assisted with the NEF’s signature Lighthouse Auction, and was a member of the Business Coalition. Her passion and work ethic ensured success, helping to raise thousands of dollars to support the literacy closet, NHS auditorium renovations, and the district-wide STEM initiative to name a few.
2017 – Ray Nippes
Ray has made a significant impact on the Newburyport Public Schools through his 20+ years of work with the Newburyport Education Business Coalition and later with the Newburyport Education Foundation. His work with the NEF major gifts committee has resulted in much needed funding for the NEF/NEBC, Ray is never one to look for recognition or accolades – he just wants to make a difference! He may not be out in front of the crowd with his support, but rather leads quietly and is in lock step with the needs of the district and most importantly, the students.
2016 – John Elwell
John Elwell has been a tireless advocate for the NEF since its inception. He has served on the Board as the chair of many committees and served as our President in 2011. John has devoted his career to public education, starting as an inner-city high school teacher and finishing his career as the Principal of Newburyport High School. He continues to be a role model for our community and an inspiration to others who strive to make a difference for Newburyport’s public schools.
2015 – Art Currier
Art is CEO of a leading professional interior design firm, Currier & Associates, in Newburyport. He has been actively involved with the NEF Business Coalition (formerly known as the Newburyport Education Business Coalition) for more than 20 years. “His dedication and commitment have enhanced the education of students across all grade levels in the Newburyport Public Schools,” said Megan Ashe, NEF President. Art actively participates in the Business Coalition monthly committee meetings, assists in outreach efforts to businesses and community organizations, and identifies partnership opportunities to help build the bridge between businesses and the schools. In addition, he has worked tirelessly on regional career fairs for several years.
2014 – Rob Ouellette
Over the last 11 years, Ouellette has supported and enhanced the Newburyport Public Schools through his volunteerism with the NEF, as a supporter through his company Amesbury Skate & Sport, and as a key figure in the annual 100 Day Celebration in the kindergarten classes. He is also an active community member and, along with other volunteers, assisted in establishing Newburyport Youth Lacrosse, is a past Board Member of Lucy’s Love Bus, currently serves on the Board of the Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Foundation and continues to be involved in youth sports.
2013 – Claude and Laura Elias
Supportive parents and instrumental in fundraising for our schools, the Eliases have had a positive impact in the community and in Newburyport’s schools. They have opened their restaurant, Oregano Pizzeria and Ristorante, on many occasions for fundraising efforts for the PTO as well as the NEF. Oregano is a long time sponsor at events in both the educational community and community at large. The Eliases and Oregano are exemplary community leaders through their service not only to the schools but local sports organizations and the Salvation Army.
2012 – Richard Eaton
Richard Eaton is a founding member of the NEF and a dedicated supporter. He not only helped to establish the organization, he served as a board member and treasurer since its inception until 2005 and continues to support the NEFand its mission for the Newburyport Public Schools. As the former president of the Newburyport Bank Five Cents Savings Bank, Eaton is a faithful supporter and attendee at NEF fundraisers. In addition, he has worked diligently as a yearly sponsor of the Opportunity Workshop fundraiser. Since 1961 when he was a freshman in high school, he has coached over 70 teams in the Pioneer League, Little League and Senior League. He also has served as an officer in those leagues for 40 years.
2011 – Carl Beal and the NHS Class of 1953
This active and generous group of alumni, led by Class President Carl Beal, has provided ongoing support and fundraising for the NHS library over the last eight years and been an exemplary leader for all NHS alumni.
2010 – Jim Stehlin
A distinguished former teacher, athletic director and coach at Newburyport High School, Jim Stehlin has had far-reaching and lasting influence on the youth and community of Newburyport.
2009 – Penny Lazarus
As a volunteer, Penny Lazarus played an integral part in establishing school gardens at the elementary and middle schools and worked with the schools and the teachers to develop curriculum and expand learning outside the classroom into the gardens.
2008 – The NHS Alumni Association
Rare among public high schools, the Alumni Association has raised thousands of dollars to further the education of NHS graduates. In addition to their scholarships, they also host an annual Teachers Tea and keep alumni connected through their newsletter.
2007 – George Cashman and all school volunteers
Founding board member of the NEF and tireless volunteer, Cashman was honored posthumously for his leadership in philanthropy for education and for demonstrating the power of volunteerism in changing the world.
2006 – Trustees of the Institution for Savings
Board members were honored for unanimously approving an expenditure of $500,000 that allowed for the renovation of the Middle School Science labs in 2006. They also pledged $100,000 over ten years to bring motivational science speakers into the schools and to provide maintenance funds for the science labs.
2005 – Michael Strem and Robert McLellan
Founding members and past presidents of the Newburyport Education Business Coalition, Strem and McLellan responded to the Grace Commission’s call for business leaders to step up and work with the schools to ensure that students were prepared for the workplace. The NEBC was the first 501(c)3 founded in Newburyport with a mission of enhancing education.
2004 – Edward Molin
Founding board member of the NEF and longtime school supporter, Molin served as mayor and School Committee member and was a reliable source of philanthropy and fundraising to fill needs in the schools. Molin established the Molin Awards for teachers, underwrote personalized books for first-graders and did much more.