The Charlie Baker Legacy Award is a specially named teacher grant award to encourage professional development activities in the areas of US History and World Geography. Initial funding for the award was provided by a generous gift of an anonymous donor.

Recipients of the award are selected from among teacher grant proposals in the areas of US History and/or World Geography. The purposes of the award are twofold: to encourage the study of the United States’ economic, environmental, ethnic, racial, or cultural past with a view toward improving one’s knowledge of the history of the United States, and to encourage the study of World Geography with a view toward promoting and increasing geographic literacy in the classroom. The award consists of a $1,000 stipend (in addition to the BEF’s funding of the teacher grant). The award may be used to pay for travel to research sites, stipends, course tuition, and supplies directly related to the teacher grant.

The following criteria are considered in selecting the recipient(s) of the Charlie Baker Legacy Award:

•  merit of the proposed project
•  clarity of expression in describing the project
•  how the educator(s) will use the project to improve the quality of instruction
•  how outcomes will be evaluated and disseminated

In 2023, the Charlie Baker Legacy Award was presented to Kevin Whitehead, Spanish teacher at Brookline High School. Mr. Whitehead traveled to Chile this summer to immerse in the local language and culture, interview local residents, and visit historical sites to gain perspectives on political turmoil and civil unrest which he can bring back to inform the Spanish 3 curriculum for his students. The Baker award allowed Mr. Whitehead to extend his travel into Peru.

In 2019, 2020, and 2021, the Charlie Baker Legacy Award was presented to Mark Goldner, middle-school science teacher at Heath School. Due to circumstances beyond his control, the expedition was postponed in 2019, and again cancelled in 2020, due to COVID-19. Finally, in the summer of 2021, Mr. Goldner returned to the Norwegian Arctic as part of an international team to study climate and how glacier systems respond to climate change. Upon his return to the classroom, his 7th and 8th-grade students will be able to work with and analyze the data collected during his expedition. With the award, Mr. Goldner plans to extend his trip to visit other parts of Norway.

In 2018, the Award was presented to Shephali Chokshi, Math Coach, and Victoria Cavanaugh, 7th Grade Math, of Devotion school. They will separately visit key sites in the history of mathematics (Italy, Greece, Mexico, and Peru) to discover and highlight the stories of the mathematicians behind the world’s most famous solutions. The plan to create resources to use in the classroom and share with other Brookline math teachers.

The 2017 Charlie Baker Legacy Award was presented to Maggie Russel, Keryn Gannon (both 2nd Grade teachers at Lawrence) and Samantha Marsallo, 2nd Grade teacher at Pierce who traveled to Arizona to visit the Hopiland Reservation, Hopiland Schools and the Grand Canyon to experience the history, cultures and traditions of the Hopi.

The 2016 Charlie Baker Legacy Award was presented to Brookline High School social studies teacher, Elizabeth Buhl, who will participate in the prestigious “Freedom Writers Institute,” which trains teachers to use writing and project-driven activities to encourage the academic and personal growth of students.

Shira Schwartzberg, social studies teacher at Runkle School and Ben Stein, social studies teacher at Lincoln School, were the 2015 award recipients. They have enhanced their teaching of the history of Greece and Turkey by traveling to those countries.

In 2014, the award was presented to BHS World Language teacher Lihua Shorter, who will examine how the new China-Taiwan relationship has impacted the region economically, culturally, and politically.

In 2013, the Award was presented to BHS World Language Teacher Andrew Kimball, who toured Southeast Asia to study the effect of French colonialism on politics and architecture in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

The Charlie Baker Legacy Award was presented in 2012 to BHS Asian American Studies teacher Rachel Eio, who traveled to a World War II Japanese internment camp in California to meet with former internees and gather authentic stories of resistance for her BHS class.

The 2011 recipient of the Charlie Baker Legacy Award was Robert Grant, a Brookline High School social studies teacher, who canoed the Susquehanna River from New York to the Chesapeake, surveying river geography and history from pre-Columbian to present times.

The 2010 recipients of this award were Joanne Burke Hunter and Mark Wheeler, social studies teachers from Brookline High School, who visited Kenya to broaden their knowledge and expand their teaching of post-colonial and modern Africa.

Amy Winnick, whose teacher grant funded a Primary Source tour of China, received the 2009 Charlie Baker Legacy Award. With the award, she extended her travel and studies to Korea and other Southeast Asian countries.

The first annual Charlie Baker Legacy Award was presented in 2008 to Heath and Driscoll School educators Jen Doubilet, Amy Neale, Jen Thompson, and Marcy Prager, who sought first-hand knowledge of the Native American Hopi culture by visiting the Oraibi village in Arizona. Their visit focused on how the high desert geography influenced Hopi life. The group has compiled an “oral history” of the culture to share with second grade students in the Social Studies Hopi unit.