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Claudia Ramirez Recognized with 2024 Cramer Award

The Steward School
Steward community gathers to celebrate
Eleven faculty and staff members and coaches were honored at the 2024 Board, Faculty, and Staff Awards presentation.

At the 2024 Board, Faculty, and Staff Awards ceremony, members of the Steward community gathered for an early-evening celebration in the Lora M. Robins Theatre in the Paul R. Cramer Center for the Arts. Eleven faculty and staff members were honored for their exemplary contributions to the Spartan community. 

Honorees included Claudia Ramirez, Middle School World Languages Teacher and Director of the Latino Education Advancement Program (LEAP), who received the sixteenth-annual Paul R. Cramer Award. The Cramer Award is given in memory of the former Steward head of school to a faculty member who epitomizes the characteristics of balance, perspective, and humor. Ms. Ramirez will also receive a grant to use toward professional development as part of the award. 

At Steward, Ms. Ramirez not only teaches in the Middle School and leads LEAP, but her “commitment to school life beyond the classroom is unparalleled,” said Head of School Dan Frank during the awards ceremony. “Here is a short list of the many, many things she has helped with, initiated, or led: the Ban Caribe and Latin Ballet performances; bringing in the Recycled Orchestra from Paraguay; a visiting Aztec group from Mexico; the Cultures of Steward celebrations; the Nicaragua-based Pulsera Project; multiple performances from Folk Life musicians; Day of the Dead celebrations; involving our housekeeping staff with the Lower School Hispanic Heritage month events; overnight stays as part of Community Week; leading student trips to Mexico; Guatemala and Costa Rica; inviting the entire third grade to her naturalization ceremony; and the one I am most personally grateful for and which extends her impact WAY past our Steward community: LEAP.”

Mr. Frank described Ms. Ramirez’s approach to her work and life: “However there is a need, Claudia will jump in. Whenever there is a question, Claudia will say yes. Wherever there is a loose thread, Claudia will mend it. Claudia teaches us that true community doesn’t simply exist between 8:00 and 4:00, or in one classroom or one building. True community exists in the spaces in between and outside, filled with care for others, generosity, love, and joy,” 

Previous Cramer Award honorees include Craig Smith, Rugene Paulette, Janet Rice, Chris Tickle, Carolyn Brandt, Louise Robertson, Gardner Mundy, Beverley Fox, Bonnie Anderson, Catesby Jones, Robin Ricketts, Heather Jeter, Margaret Maclin, Lynn Zinder, and Melissa Freed, each of whom also received a grant to use toward professional development as part of the award.

During the event, additional awards were presented to faculty and staff to recognize their outstanding contributions to Steward. Each recipient received an engraved plaque and a monetary gift. 

The first-ever Champions of Play awards, which honor late Lower School Director Ingrid Moore, were given at the event. Honorees included Junior Kindergarten Teacher Katy Koppanyi, Middle School Math Teachers Corbin Orgain, Alexandra Spitzer, and Jacqueline Tuck, and Upper School Math Teacher Scottie O’Neill. 

The Lower School award is named for Debbie Hanger, a trustee and beloved member of the community who served as director of Lower School for a decade. The 2024 Debbie Hanger Outstanding Lower School Teacher Award was presented to Third Grade Teacher Ashley Lenhart.

The Middle School award is named for Roger Coulombe, former director of Middle School and head of school who was known for being compassionate, caring, and deeply committed to Steward’s mission and community. The 2024 Roger Coulombe Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award was presented to Middle School English Teacher Danny Spiziri.

The Upper School award is named for Carolyn Brandt, who spent 32 years at Steward and was — and continues to be — an integral part of Steward’s growth and a champion of the school’s mission. The 2024 Carolyn Brandt Outstanding Upper School Teacher Award was presented to Ryan Gallagher, Upper School Technical Theatre Teacher & Cramer Center Facilities Manager. 

The Parents Association presented a staff recognition award named for former Director of the Physical Plant Bob Sanders, who spent two decades supervising the growth of Steward’s campus. The 2024 Robert Sanders Jr. Outstanding Staff Member Award was presented to Development Associate Sydney Smith.

The Spartan Club presented an award to a coach who made a significant impact on their teams and at Steward, inspiring our players to be competitive athletes and respectful, engaged citizens. This year’s award was presented to Girls Varsity Lacrosse Coach Lisa Moore.

Following the ceremony, guests gathered for photos and enjoyed refreshments in the lobby and art gallery. Congratulations to all our award recipients!

View the Steward Snaps from the 2024 Faculty/Staff Awards.

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