Grosse Pointe teachers named finalists in national competition

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 5, 2015

GROSSE POINTES — A district having one of the five finalists for a Bammy, a national award from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, generates excitement, but Grosse Pointe Schools nabbed two of five slots in the same category.


North teacher Gary Abud and South teacher Nick Provenzano are finalists for a 2015 Bammy Award for high school teachers. The other three finalists are from Indiana and Massachusetts.


“All across the nation, nominees … demonstrate that there is exceptional work being done to educate our children on many levels,” Errol St. Clair Smith, executive producer of the Bammy Awards, stated in a news release. “Much of the good work being done goes unrecognized and is not covered in traditional media. Students are not the only ones who need validation.


“More than ever before, educators need to be validated, and the stories about what’s going right in American education need to be told,” he stated. “We are delighted to be part of this collaborative, nationwide effort for the fourth year.”


The Bammy Awards ceremony will be held in September in Washington, D.C.


Not only did the district place two teachers in the finals, but North Principal Kate Murray also was nominated for a Bammy in the high school principal category. She has received the 2015 Educators’ Voice Award.


The Educators’ Voice Awards are given to nominees who receive the most community votes in their categories.


“Kate Murray was, by far, her peers’ favorite principal among the nominees,” the Grosse Pointe North Parents Club stated on its Facebook page. “The education community knows its stars! Bammy Awards will be announced in September. Congratulations to our favorite principal!”


Both Abud and Provenzano spoke of the many teachers who dedicate their time to students and become mentors to other teachers.


“I’m very honored to be recognized by my peers around the country,” Provenzano said in an email. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing teachers at Grosse Pointe South that have helped me become a better teacher every year. Without their support and guidance, I would not be where I am today.”


“There are so many educators in Grosse Pointe and all over Michigan schools doing great things,” Abud said. “It’s really humbling being singled out.”


He hopes that the awards help to recognize the great things that are going on in classrooms all over.


Abud said it’s recognition for the district, but he also said that it’s fitting because the district is supportive of its teachers.


“Grosse Pointe really encourages and challenges every educator to do their best and to be their best,” he said.


“They really do provide a tremendous amount of professional development to help their teachers grow,” he said.


Abud and Provenzano have both won a number of awards over their teaching careers thus far. Abud’s awards include the 2014 Michigan Teacher of the Year, and one of Provenzano’s distinctions is the 2013 Teacher of the Year from the International Society for Technology in Education.


For more information, visit www.bammyawards.org.