2016 Champions of Learning Finalists


6 Categories

7 Counties

18 Finalists

The Arts

  • Baron Batch, Founder and Creative Director of Studio AM, a Homestead-based design firm
  • Prime Stage Theater, a nonprofit entertainment organization that stages performances at the New Hazlett Theater on Pittsburgh’s North Side
  • Jayne Sheldon, Elementary Music Teacher, Allegheny Valley School District

Business Partnerships

  • Terry McMillen, Founder of McMillen Engineering, a full-service civil engineering and land survey firm based in Uniontown
  • Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, a youth-focused philanthropic organization established by Pittsburgh’s NHL team

Classroom Teaching

  • Howard Johnson, Middle School Science Teacher, Charleroi Area School District
  • Jessica Mahoney, Elementary Autistic Support Teacher, Bethel Park School District
  • Robert Puskas, High School Science Teacher, Blackhawk School District

Community Outreach

  • Creek Connections, an Allegheny College initiative that creates partnerships with schools throughout the region to help students use the region’s waterways as learning laboratories
  • Southwestern PA BotsIQ, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that uses robotics competitions to stimulate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) learning and manufacturing workforce development
  • Holly M. Turkovic, Community Outreach Coordinator and teacher for The Academy Schools, and Trainer and Program Director at Diversified Care Management


  • Joseph Conners, Chief of School Police, Upper St. Clair School District
  • Michael Ghilani, Superintendent, Montour School District
  • Patti Mason, High School Principal, Charleroi Area School District
  • Jenifer Pappasergi, Elementary School Principal, Yough School District

Technology Integration

  • Lee Cristofano, High School Physics Teacher, Facilitator and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) Coordinator, Bethel Park School District
  • L. Robert Furman, Ed.D., Elementary School Principal, South Park School District
  • Brett D. Slezak, High School Physical Education Teacher, Allegheny Valley School District