Sara Mass Award

Honoring a person who has made a substantial positive difference in the course of the educational process for residents of Bethel – either through one noteworthy action or by the cumulative effect of many actions over a period of time.



2013- Fran Peters

Fran Peters is currently the Transition Specialist for the Community-based Transition Program and Coordinator of Bethel High School’s Alternative Program known as TASK (Teamwork Achieves Success and Knowledge).   In her role as Transition Specialist, Fran is responsible for promoting job development through community interaction with employers and Adult State Agencies. 

She also leads a team of job coaches that assists students at their work sites.  As the TASK Coordinator, Fran oversees a program that allows students to obtain their high school diploma in a nontraditional setting.  Fran joined Bethel High School in 2005.

Fran began her career in the New York City Public Schools system.  She started as a second grade teacher in PS 380 in Brooklyn, NY.  She soon became the District’s Reading Coordinator while continuing her studies for her Administrative License.  She became an Assistant Principal of PS 84, an elementary school with over a thousand students, located in Brooklyn, NY.

Fran received a dual undergraduate degree in Special and General Education and Speech at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, NY.  She received her graduate degree from Saint John’s University in Queens, NY in Special Education.  Fran continued her administrative studies at Brooklyn College and Saint John’s University where she completed an Administrative and Supervision Program and received a New York State Administrative License. 



2012 - Lois Brockmann

Lois Brockmann is the District wide Physical Therapist.  Lois has been working in the Bethel Public Schools for 25 years.  In each of our schools, she provides a variety of physical therapy services to our district’s students with special needs from preschool through high school.  Lois is a competent professional whose expertise and experience are relied on and valued.  But in her work she goes beyond what is expected of someone in her role, viewing each student holistically, planning for and addressing students’ needs across multiple domains of academic, social, emotional, and physical development.  She makes “work” fun for her students and helps their families carryover the work she does with students into their daily lives at home, always stressing their independence.  Lois is a compassionate advocate for our students and their families and supports them in many ways, especially in times of family illness or distress.  She carries over her commitment to children with disabilities to a variety of community based programs and activities.


2011 - Dr. Janice Jordan

Dr. Janice Jordan was appointed to the position of Associate Superintendent and began her work in Bethel on August 1, 2005. Dr. Jordan started her career as a 4th grade teacher. She became an English teacher and chairman of the department at Deerfield High School in suburban Chicago. Dr. Jordan became Assistant Principal of Cheshire High School in 1993, where she supervised the revision of curriculum and began an innovative foreign exchange program. She served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-12 for the Cheshire Public Schools from 1995 to 1999. In that position, she led the district’s technology and curriculum initiatives and wrote numerous successful grants. Dr. Jordan also served as Assistant Superintendent in New Fairfield where she directed instructional programs that raised CMT scores significantly. From June 2001 to June 2005, Dr. Jordan served as Superintendent of Schools in New Hartford where she oversaw two major building projects, changed the budget building and monitoring processes, and implemented major curriculum revisions in mathematics, language arts, science, technology, and health education. In Bethel, Dr. Jordan oversees all curricula K-12, teacher and administrator supervision and evaluation, technology, and all assessment programs. She was charged with beginning an educational foundation which has been highly successful in helping to fund promoting innovation, creativity, and excellence in learning for our children and the community.


2010 – Lynn Fenn
Lynn is a graduate of the Bethel Public Schools and has been teaching and coaching in Bethel for almost 35 years. She has positively influenced children at multiple levels in a variety of ways. She has been a physical education teacher and classroom teacher at both the primary and elementary levels. Lynn has also coached varsity volleyball for over 25 years and varsity softball for over 30 years.

She is an active member of the Bethel Alumni Association currently serving as co-president.

She initiated the Project Adventure program at Johnson School which is both an indoor and outdoor program that encourages cooperative learning and problem solving through physical activity. She has organized the Jump Rope for Heart program for the past 22 years at Johnson School raising more than $250,000 for the American Heart Association. Lynn has also taught Park and Rec programs for many years for students at various levels in Bethel.

  2009 - Elizabeth Armstrong-Gore

Elizabeth has spent her entire teaching career educating Bethel students. Except for her first year, all have been working with fourth graders. Along with trying to make learning an exciting adventure, Betty has served on many curriculum committees. She has also served as a co-operating teacher to college students and a mentor to first and second year teachers. Betty has been a member of the district’s Professional Development Council for many years, and is currently serving as the chairperson.


2008 - Linda Anderson

Mrs. Anderson is the Director of Summer School for the Bethel Public Schools.  This program offers extended learning and enrichment programs to the students of Bethel.  Mrs. Anderson’s creativity in planning enrichment courses have made this program an enormous success.  Linda does everything from curriculum, budget planning, purchasing and distributing supplies, hiring staff and volunteers, registration, bus routes and everything in between.  Even with her many responsibilities, Linda is always making sure everyone has what they need and students are where they are supposed to be. 

Mrs. Anderson coordinates the senior Internship Program at Bethel High School.  The program provides a structured, meaningful, independent internship experience for senior students. Mrs. Anderson interviews students to determine their interests and placement. Students also submit bi-weekly journal questions, calendars, and a final presentation.  

Mrs. Anderson planned and coordinates the Community Service Program for the district and tracks student service hours so that students are recognized with the Presidential Community Service Award for their hours of community service.

Mrs. Anderson’s kindness, patience, hard work, and professionalism have improved the educational experience for the children of Bethel.  Linda is dedicated to helping the children of Bethel succeed.


2007 - Lisa Notti
District wide Occupational Therapist. Mrs. Notti has been dedicated to Bethel Public Schools for 20 years.  She has provided an extremely wide scope of services and support to the special education programs here in Bethel. Students, school team members, and families of children from preschool through high school have benefited from her services. Mrs. Notti also helped to facilitate the district’s adoption of the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum and co-developed “The Parent Guide for Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting” for parents of students entering kindergarten.     

2006 - Pamela Chapman
Newly appointed Assistant Principal at Bethel Middle School, Pam Chapam received the Sara Mass Award for thirty-two years of excellence teaching English to Bethel High School students. As a teacher, she epitomized high personal and academic expectations for every student—gifted or struggling learners. Whether in Advanced Placement classes or in regular English classes, Pam Chapman inspired her students and advocated for their success in high school as well as life after high school. She served fellow teachers as the district’s Professional Rights and Responsibilities Chair and Chair of the Negotiations Committee for the Bethel Education Association. She also served as BHS National Honor Society advisor for many years. Ms. Chapman is passionately committed to helping all students see the importance of service to others. Last year, her National Honor Society students started a library in a small town in Nairobi with 800 donated books, and then sent bicycles to the students so that they could get to school and to their new library. She herself volunteers her time at the Danbury Women’s Center. She brings to her new administrative position at Bethel Middle Mchool, a deep understanding of the needs of adolescents, a love for education and for the teaching profession, and a very comprehensive understanding how all students learn best.
2005 - Tony Diminico,
Learning Initiatives Team, Technology, Bethel Public Schools. As a member of the Technology team of the Bethel Public Schools, Mr. Diminico has been at the heart of the efforts to make technology come to life as a useful tool for teachers and students. He has created a state of the art web site and TV studio that produces professional programming for the education cable channel.
2004 - Linda Pica,
Director of Special Education and Pupil Services. Mrs. Pica is dedicated to the special needs students in the Bethel Public Schools. Mrs. Pica defines excellence in her profession and not only successfully works with her staff to provide quality special education, but with personnel at the state level as well.
2003 - Gerd Fagerholm,
Director of Fiscal Services, Bethel Public Schools. Mrs. Fagerholm had outstanding professional expertise in planning budgets and worked hard to assure that the students in the Bethel schools were provided quality programs.
2002 - Frank Forster,
Associate Principal, Bethel High School. Mr. Forster has always been an advocate for BHS students. He continually works with community members on the School-Business Partnership program, the Booster Clubs, and the Alumni Association. Mr. Forster is respected by staff and students alike.
2001 - Gary Kingsbury,
Special Education teacher, Bethel Middle School. Mr. Kingsbury is dedicated to special needs students and has been involved with BRIDGES, a highly successful Special Education program.
2000 - Barbara Findley,
Job Coach, Bethel High School. Mrs. Findley is an enthusiastic advocate for students. Mrs. Findley has brought the school and community closer together to form successful School-Business Partnership and Mentoring programs.
Jan Jagush 2000 - Jan Jagush,
Middle School teacher. Ms. Jagush brings enthusiasm to her teaching and devotion to her students. She facilitates their active involvement in community service projects. She is responsible for the after-school activity program for elementary students run by the Middle School students.
Dann Pompa 1999 - Dann Pompa,
School Counselor at Bethel High School, was a true advocate for his students. His students respected him as a role model they could emulate. He served as a Class Advisor for many years and advisor to various clubs.
Bob Gilchrest 1998 - Bob Gilchrest,
Superintendent of Schools from 1982 to 1998. Mr. Gilchrest was responsible for successfully steering Bethel Public School in new directions, from educating students to professional development for staff, while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Mr. Gilchrest was dedicated to students and staff and was always there to listen.
Sherry Earle 1997 - Sherry Earle,
Teacher of the Gifted at Bethel Middle School. Dr. Earle is committed to teaching these special students. She uses her expertise to keep the curriculum interesting and challenging. .She also is an advocate for the gifted on the state and national level.
Walter Hartsburg 1996 - Walter Hartsburg,
World Languages teacher, Assistant Principal, Bethel High School. Mr. Hartsburg was recognized for his commitment to students learning a foreign language. His personality made him a favorite with students at BHS.
Dan Deblois 1995 Dan DeBlois,
Computer Coordinator, Bethel Public Schools. Mr. DeBlois is responsible for our outstanding technology programs in the Bethel Public schools. The progress of the technology curriculum for students and professional development for staff is due mainly to Mr. DeBlois’ knowledge of the subject area and his patience in training.
Pat Kelly 1994 - Pat Kelly,
Grade six teacher at Johnson School. Ms. Kelly was a true professional educator whose dedication and commitment to the students of Bethel was recognized by all who worked with her. She was a mentor not only to children but to her fellow teachers as well.
  1993 - Eileen Goodrich,
Board of Education member from 1989 to 1993. As a Board member, Mrs. Goodrich was an advocate for excellence in education and gave generously of her time and energy to the students and staff of the Bethel Public Schools.
Arlene McAuliffe 1992 - Arlene McAuliffe,
Grade 4, Johnson School, is considered an outstanding educator and has made a substantial positive difference in the course of her student’s lives. It is not unusual to have former students come back to visit and thank Mrs. McAuliffe as they feel much of their success can be attributed to having had her as their teacher.
  1991 - Barbara Baird,
PTO Chairman, Elementary Schools. Mrs. Baird worked tirelessly to bring cultural and fund raising events to the Bethel Public Elementary Schools.
  1990 - Mardie Ford,
Grade 8, Bethel Middle School. Ms. Ford was a dedicated teacher whose love of social studies was instilled in her students. She was respected by students, staff and parents.
Rosmary Payne 1989 - Rosemary Payne,
Grade 3, Rockwell School. Mrs. Payne was noted for challenging her students while providing them a quality education. Her efforts also went beyond the classroom by providing her students with historical tours of Bethel and Mrs. Payne worked on Bethel’s first educational TV show, “The Window.”
Susan Davison 1989 - Susan Davison,
Grade 6, Bethel Middle School. Mrs. Davison was not only a dedicated educator but was compassionate about her students and their well being. Mrs. Davison encouraged her students to participate in various community projects.