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Walsh Elementary's Mr. Andre Foote Named 2020 Waterbury Teacher of the Year

Please enjoy this compilation honoring our 2020 Waterbury Teacher of the Year, Teachers of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Paraprofessionals of the Year and Support Staff of the Year and join us in celebrating some of our exceptional educators. 

"Celebration of Excellence" - Waterbury 2020 Teachers, Support Staff, Paraprofessionals, and Administrators of the Year from David Edward Therault on Vimeo.

Waterbury Public Schools is delighted to announce that Mr. Andre Foote has been named the District’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Foote, who has been with the District for six years, is a music teacher at Walsh Elementary School and also teaches at Kingsbury Elementary School one day a week. He is beloved by his school community, which said “Andre finds the good in all of his students and asks them to dig deep within themselves, finding strength and goodness.” Mr. Foote is deeply committed to his community and organizes several yearly concerts and performances in Waterbury. His passion for music education has also taken him to Uganda twice, where he partnered with local schools to teach music to students.

“It is such an honor to be named Waterbury Teacher of the Year,” said Mr. Andre Foote shortly after Friday’s announcement. "I want to first say a huge thank you to my administrators, my co-workers and friends at Walsh Elementary School, to Dr. Ruffin and the Teacher of the Year Committee, and, of course, all of my students. The Teacher of the Year application process has given me a lot of time to reflect. In doing so, I can't help but feel grateful for all I have been blessed to be a part of, not only as a teacher, but as a teacher in Waterbury, Connecticut. Other teachers may say it all the time, but we really do have the best students in the world. I can't think of any place I would rather be than in a room full of students singing songs, laughing, playing instruments and having fun. To be recognized for this is just the icing on the cake. Thank you all so much for this nomination. It truly is an honor.”

“Mr. Foote initially envisioned obtaining a degree in education as a means to “fall back on” only to later realize his talents, passion and ability to impact and influence students in a most profound manner,” said Superintendent Verna D. Ruffin. “He found his passion. His vision grew to include one of the most powerful ways that one can impact lives…he became a teacher.  Mr. Foote is an outstanding teacher excelling in inspiring students to pursue excellence, engage in culturally relevant learning and experience the world of music and sharing the music with others. He challenges the dilemma urban communities face when music or the arts are not prioritized and expanded. He finds a way to make it happen. It is with great honor that Waterbury Public Schools announces the exemplary work of this outstanding teacher, musician, and professional as Teacher of the Year.”

Ms. Jillian Cipriano, a 4th grade teacher at Driggs Elementary School, and Mrs. Alison Kirchberger, a 5th grade teacher at Hopeville Elementary School were also selected among several applicants as Waterbury Teacher of the Year finalists. Mr. Foote will be considered for the title of Connecticut Teacher of the Year, which is traditionally announced in the fall.

WPS honors a Teacher of the Year from each of our schools. The District extends its deepest congratulations to all of them on this recognition.

Teachers of the Year


AnnMarie DeCarlo- Bucks Hill Annex

Alexandra Robalino- Bucks Hill

Howard Rochon- Bunker Hill

Jos Gagnon- Carrington

Angelica Cavallo- Chase

Jillian Cipriano- Driggs

Erin Scirica- Duggan

Christina Piccochi- Generali

Catherine Dwyer- Gilmartin

Alison Kirchberger- Hopeville

Kelly Cassone- Kingsbury

Siobhan Kalnins- Maloney Interdistrict Magnet

Kim Rock- Reed

Christine Schmied- Regan

Cheyenne Walent- Rotella Interdistrict Magnet

Kathleen Napolitano- Sprague

Sharon Cantor- Tinker

Andre Foote- Walsh

Stephanie Rua- Washington

Marnee Capobianco- Wendell Cross

Andrea Perrelli- Wilson


Nikoleta Kollchaku- Crosby High School

Traci Wells- Enlightenment School

Danielle Byron- Kennedy High School

Lisa Fenn- North End Middle School

Heather Matthews- State Street School

Lisa Palombo- Wallace Middle School

Jaclyn Gibson- Waterbury Arts Magnet School

Michael Labagh- Waterbury Career Academy

Harley Gaafar (awarded posthumously)- West Side Middle School

Joseph Perusse- Wilby High School


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Waterbury Public Schools
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Waterbury, CT 06702
Phone: (203) 574-8000

Fax: (203) 574-8010