Teacher of the Year

Teacher of the Year

Kara Sievel

Literacy Specialist
John F. Kennedy Middle School
2020-2021

The Southington Public School District is proud to announce that Kara Sievel, a Literacy Specialist at John F. Kennedy Middle School, has been chosen as the 2020-2021 District Teacher of the Year. Ms. Sievel will be recognized by the District and her peers at the 2020-2021 Staff Convocation. Also, she will be recognized by the Board of Education and the community at a reception prior to a Board of Education meeting in September at the Municipal Center.

Ms. Sievel began her teaching career in Southington in January 2003 as a sixth grade Language Arts Teacher at Kennedy Middle School. In August 2007, she was promoted to the position of Literacy Specialist and Coach, assigned to support students and teachers at both DePaolo Middle School and Kennedy Middle School, a position in which she served for four years. Ms. Sievel is currently a full time Literacy Specialist at Kennedy Middle School. Kara has designed and presented numerous professional learning activities, most recently at Yale’s Emotional Intelligence National Conference. Kara serves on numerous committees at Kennedy Middle School and serves on the District Emotional Intelligence Committee as well as the District Professional Development and Evaluation Committee.

Ms. Sievel received her Bachelor of Science degree from Providence College in 2000 and her Master of Arts degree from Central Connecticut State University in 2002. Additionally, she earned her Sixth-Year degree in school administration from Central Connecticut State University in May 2017. Kara has attended many professional learning sessions over the years, but the most memorable retreats in which she participated were with Dan Siegel and Bruce Perry in 2017. Kara is a founding member of the Ana Grace Project, an organization that focuses on choosing to love and educating others on the importance of mental health and interconnections. She is an active participant in Yale University’s Changemaker Fellowship. Ms. Sievel has received grants from “Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education for Teachers” and “Fund for Teachers”. In 2018, Kara traveled to Bali, Indonesia with some of those grant funds to study Mindfulness and Leadership.

Ms. Sievel describes her goal in education as being able to help others recognize their true potential in order for them to live their best life. Ms. Sievel resides in Farmington, CT.

In addition, Southington Public Schools also announced Stacy Ferrett as the High School Teacher of the Year and Kathleen Wagner as the Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Stacy has been teaching at Southington High School since 1993. She is a cooperating teacher and mentors new teachers. She has served on numerous committees including the Habits of Work Committee, various interview committees, and the Principal’s Advisory Committee.

Kathleen has been a Kindergarten teacher at Hatton Elementary School for the past six years. She is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts Program for Mathematics Education at Western Governor’s University. She served on the district’s Kindergarten mathematics curriculum writing committee in 2015 and serves on the Science Collaborative committee as well as several other district committees.


  • 2020-2021 Kara Sievel, Kennedy Middle School
  • 2019-2020 Heather Allenback, Southington High School
  • 2018-2019 Kari Peschel-Luise, Southington High School
  • 2017-2018 Candace Patten, Southington High School
  • 2016-2017 Christina McKirryher, Plantsville Elementary School
  • 2015-2016 Christopher Richter, Kennedy Middle School
  • 2014-2015 Jennifer Paul, Southington High School
  • 2013-2014 Linda Bass Reilly, Thalberg Elementary
  • 2012-2013 Justin Mirante, Southington High
  • 2011-2012 Jessica Bruenn, Strong Elementary
  • 2010-2011 Jill Chapman, Kelley Elementary
  • 2009-2010 Sara Levinthal, Southington High
  • 2008-2009 Maureen Waldron, Southington High
  • 2007-2008 Joyce Fredrick, Hatton Elementary
  • 2006-2007 Maureen Roth, Strong Elementary
  • 2005-2006 Karen Paradis, Elementary Gifted and Talented Teacher
  • 2004-2005 Marion Stannard, VOAG Center
  • 2003-2004 Meredith Menton, Thalberg Elementary
  • 2002-2003 Cathy Weston, Southington High
  • 2001-2002 Nancy Chiero, Southington High
  • 2000-2001 Gregory Brezicki, Strong Elementary
  • 1999-2000 Sandra Van Valkenburgh, DePaolo Middle
  • 1998-1999 Madeline Previti, Southington High
  • 1997-1998 Jeffrey R. Shaw, Southington High
  • 1996-1997 Jessica Jankowski, DePaolo Middle
  • 1995-1996 Robert Bafuma, Kennedy Middle
  • 1994-1995 Dorothy Drechsler, Kelley Elementary
  • 1993-1994 Harriet Clark, North Center Elementary
  • 1992-1993 Janet Pehmoeller, Kelley Elementary
  • 1991-1992 Donna Shea, North Center Elementary
  • 1990-1991 Duane Adams, DePaolo Middle
  • 1989-1990 Rosanne Casale-Daigneault, Kennedy Middle
  • 1988-1989 Aurora Pedrolini, Southington High
  • 1987-1988 Bette Ann Bailey, Kennedy Middle
  • 1986-1987 Gregory Brezicki, Strong Elementary
  • 1985-1986 Dale Riedinger, Kennedy Middle
  • 1984-1985 Judith Grimaldi, North Center Elementary
  • 1983-1984 Alan DeBisschop, Southington High