October 2, 2020 – The Air Products Salute to Diversity in Education Awards recognize teachers in the Bethlehem Area School District who celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion by sincerely demonstrating a commitment to create a safe and supportive community within their classroom. Among the many nominations received for the award, Air Products and BASD representatives including Dr. Roy selected three recipients to include one at the elementary level, middle school level, and high school level. Each winner was surprised with the award on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020 at their school. We are excited to share the winners with you.
The elementary school recipient is Eric Frank a teacher at William Penn Elementary School. He was nominated for this award by his principal, Joseph Anthes. In his nomination Mr. Frank is noted as a teacher who helps empower his students by utilizing his restorative practices training through proactive and restorative circles, by employing fair process, taking time during his prep periods or after school to conference with his students, and by utilizing “calm corners” and other trauma informed methods for supporting student needs. He is truly a leader of professional learning in BASD. Through his journey he has promoted inclusion and diversity by applying a critical lens to his own practice and encouraging other staff to do so as well.
The middle school recipient is Dr. Trinidad Sierra a teacher at Nitschmann Middle School. She was nominated for this award by her principal, Dr. Peter Mayes. In her nomination Dr. Sierra is described as a teacher that all students who step into her room, regardless of their race, gender, or other demographic labels is not defined by that label, but only by the person inside. She has led the No Place for Hate program for 12 years in her school and has taken on the Leadership role in the Leader in Me Program on the Lighthouse Team. Dr. Sierra manages the Encore faculty to make sure that programs and experiences are equitable and inclusive for all students. She is described as the voice of the underserved, the needy, the forgotten, and the excluded.
The high school recipient is Adam Reitz a teacher at Liberty High School. Mr. Reitz was nominated by his Assistant Principal Elizabeth Ramsey. Mr. Reitz created the “Humans of Liberty High School” social media campaign. Through the Humans of Liberty, he gives a voice to the many unique, diverse, and talented students who walk the halls of Liberty each day. His commitment to Liberty is creating a safe and supportive community in his Academic Leadership Seminar. He approaches his classes with honesty, authenticity, and compassion.
Dr. Roy stated, “I am proud of all three of the recipients. Each recipient, in their own way, serves our BASD students through the lens of equity and anti-racism.”
“Air Products is honored to join with BASD to celebrate teachers with such strong passion to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Laurie Hackett, director of community relations at Air Products. “We share the district’s commitment to create a culture of inclusiveness for all.”
Each teacher honoree will receive a grant from the Air Products Foundation to use to support their classroom work in diversity and understanding.
About Air Products Foundation
Air Products is a world-leading industrial gases company in operation for 80 years focused on serving the energy, environment and emerging markets. The Air Products Foundation’s mission is to build meaningful relationships with charitable organizations that share the values inherent in the Air Products’ higher purpose and enhance the Company’s positive relations with employees, communities, customers and shareholders.
About the Bethlehem Area School District
The Bethlehem Area School District is the 6th largest school district in Pennsylvania serving nearly 14,000 culturally and economically diverse students in 22 community-based schools. The district serves five municipalities: City of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township, Hanover Township, Freemansburg, and Fountain Hill. The district enjoys numerous community partnerships with universities, businesses, and arts providers that extend the schools’ rich curricular and co-curricular offerings.
Information provided to TVL by:
Assistant to the Superintendent for Communications
Bethlehem Area School District
1516 Sycamore Street
Bethlehem, PA 18017