Southington Public Schools Home

Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Chavez


Sandra Chavez

Fifth-grade Teacher
Oshana Elementary School

The Southington Public School District is proud to announce that Sandra Chavez, a fifth-grade teacher at Oshana Elementary School, has been chosen as the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year.  Sandra will be recognized at the 2021-2022 Staff Convocation in August.  Also, she will be recognized at a reception prior to a Board of Education meeting in September at the Municipal Center.

Mrs. Chavez has been teaching in Southington since October 2006 when she was hired as a teacher at Oshana Elementary School. 

Mrs. Chavez received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Connecticut in 1987 and her Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport in 2005.   Sandra readily volunteers for committees and activities at Oshana Elementary School such as the Emotional Intelligence leadership team, the School Safety Patrol Program (which she started and still coordinates), and “Foxathon”, an event she initiated which helps raise funds for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  Oshana has raised over $30,000 to donate to the hospital under Ms. Chavez’s leadership.  In addition, Mrs. Chavez served as the Corresponding Secretary for the Oshana PTO for two years, guided four student teachers in recent years, and mentored a new teacher this past school year.  Of note, Sandra began the Connecticut Kid Governor Program as a pilot at Oshana six years ago.  Under her guidance, her students learn about Connecticut government and research current state issues.  This year’s Kid Governor is a student at Oshana Elementary School.     

Mrs. Chavez describes a major issue in education today as the need to teach about diversity to support acceptance of all and celebrate our differences.  She believes in the importance of teaching Social and Emotional Intelligence (SEL) as well. Mrs. Chavez resides in Southington with her husband Manny and their children.

In addition, Southington Public Schools is pleased to announce that Tina Riccio was selected as the High School Teacher of the Year.  Tina has been teaching at Southington High School since 1997.  She is the Department Leader for the World Language department at Southington High School and oversees numerous student clubs including serving as the advisor for the Italian Honor Society.

  • 2021-2022 Sandra Chavez, Oshana Elementary School
  • 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