Six winners announced at Champions of Learning Awards celebration

Winners in six categories took center stage Thursday evening along with two individuals receiving Special Tributes for lifelong service to the region’s youth when the Consortium for Public Education and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania presented their annual Champions of Learning Awards.

Awards went to:

  • Melting Pot Ministries Executive Director Brenda Atkins Lockley in the Leadership Category;
  • Plum Borough School District teacher J.R. Pilyih in the category for K-6 Educators;
  • East Allegheny School District teacher Holly Spallone in the category for Educators in Grades 7-12;

    From left: Bill Strickland, Dona Gaudio, Abbie Manges, Andrew Van Treeck, J.R. Pilyih, Brenda Atkins Lockley, Holly Spallone and Bob Nelkin

  • Jewish Family and Community Services Volunteer Coordinator Andrew Van Treeck in the Community Partners category
  • Chartiers Valley School District Custodian Dona Gaudio in the School Staff Category
  • Urban Impact Foundation Volunteer Abbie Manges in the Volunteers Category

The Consortium and United Way also conferred Special Tributes on Bill Strickland, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Manchester Bidwell Corp. and Bob Nelkin, who is retiring as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way.

Mr. Strickland is nationally recognized as founder of a unique nonprofit center that provides inner-city youth with opportunities to learn studio arts ranging from pottery to music and provides world class adult education programs that have helped thousands to find viable career paths or retrain after job losses.

Mr. Nelkin is recognized as a lifelong champion of the region’s youth and other vulnerable populations. Prior to heading United Way, he served as Director of Policy Initiatives at the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development; Executive Director of former Gov. Ed Rendell’s Cabinet.