A deputy principal known as the “heartbeat” of Clearwater Middle School was today revealed as the winner of Bermuda Education Network’s 2021 Outstanding Teacher Award.
Dean Foggo, a business studies teacher and deputy principal at the school, was named Teacher of the Year in the awards which this year considered the resilience, innovation and dedication of nominees in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Foggo was praised for being a creative and inspirational teacher who, for nearly 20 years, has dedicated his life to Clearwater in St George’s.
Becky Ausenda, BEN’s founder, said: “Congratulations to Mr Foggo and to all of our talented finalists. We want you to know that the exceptional work you do makes an enormous difference and is recognised and appreciated by the community.
“Thank you for your dedication to giving Bermuda’s public school students a quality education and for supporting parents and colleagues.”
Mr Foggo, a former MP for St George’s, received the news that he was this year’s winner during a staff Zoom call yesterday, when Edmeiko Butterfield, a former pupil and BEN board director, joined a call letting him know about the decision.
Mr Foggo said afterwards he always strived to ensure every pupil felt “accepted, loved and cared for”.
“I consistently try to make a connection with students,” he said.
“I’m an outside-the-box thinker, I’m creative and I try to make sure that everyone feels important.
“Teachers know I am there for them. Last year, I created entertaining and informative videos to help them with their professional growth plan during a time that everyone was stressed.
“I also let parents know they can get an answer from Mr Foggo – I will always listen.”
Mr Foggo sent newsletters to parents and students every day of the week during lockdown.
“I included everything they needed to know about student learning and health in relation to Covid-19 and then I continued with it every week,” he said.
Mr Foggo said he was proud of the Mr and Miss CedarBridge Academy pageant celebrating student excellence which he introduced to the school in 1998 while working there.
He will receive a $10,000 grant for a school project of his choice, to be implemented in partnership with BEN.
Mr Foggo said he would like the project to help connect pupils to their careers of choice.
Mr Butterfield said it was a “great honour” to pay tribute to a teacher of distinction and to have an opportunity to support Mr Foggo with a “passion project” for Clearwater.
Three other finalists also received special mention for innovation and will each receive $5,000 for projects at their schools.
They were Kendra Lightbourne for Functional Skills programmes at Prospect Primary, Winsom Wilson Place for a project to implement the online platform Study Ladder at Somerset Primary and Troy King for an after-school STEM programme at The Berkeley Institute.
BEN is also giving the Allied World award for Community Partnership to The Continental Society of Bermuda to recognise the longstanding contribution of Ms Andrea Isaac, another BEN award finalist, and society member.
Ms Ausenda added: “Thousands of students in Bermuda have benefited from the work of the Continental Society and they deserve recognition for the many ways they have supported Bermuda’s children through summer camp scholarships, hot lunch programmes and their Mother of the Year essay contest which Ms Isaac coordinates.”