After a hiatus last year, we are so pleased to announce the 2021 Caverly Award winners this year. Since 1984, the Ernest R. Caverly Award has been presented to Brookline educators in recognition of professional achievements and contributions to the Brookline Public Schools. Each year, the BEF reaches out to school leaders and seeks nominations for the prestigious award. Two awards are given annually, one each to a high school and a K-8 school educator. Funded by the Brookline Education Foundation, each award consists of a $2,500 stipend and a gift. The educators receiving the awards are designated as Ernest R. Caverly Associates in recognition of their dedication to the ideals of Dr. Ernest R. Caverly, a distinguished public school leader, educator, and Brookline Schools Superintendent from 1931 to 1964. After such a difficult school year, it is especially nice to honor these two incredible teachers.
Francesca Stark has been teaching at the Driscoll School for 25 years. She is the kind of teacher that students remember their whole lives as someone who makes learning come alive. Francesca was a student at Driscoll herself and had a fourth-grade teacher who scared everyone, including her. It was then that she decided that she would become a fourth-grade teacher, but be the kind of teacher she would have wanted to have. When the principal of Driscoll at the time heard that story, she hired her on the spot. As a (now fifth-grade) teacher, Francesca year after year successfully creates a strong and dedicated community of learners, who come to love learning for the sake of learning and are able to run the classroom themselves, even when she is not there. Her students know that they have a strong advocate in Ms. Stark, who will work tirelessly to help them persevere and hold themselves to a high standard, and parents know that she cares for their children as much as they do. An activist at heart, Francesca teaches her students to be activists as well, with assignments to write to legislators about issues that concern them. She also leads an after-school group and summer program focused on preserving the environment, open to Driscoll students in grades 5-8. As a leader, Francesca has mentored numerous student teachers and taught education at Brandeis University. Francesca Stark embodies the best of Brookline teaching—dedicated, hard-working, creative, encouraging, bringing out the best in her students and colleagues, and never forgetting to have fun.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Davis has been teaching at Brookline High School for 35 years. Madame Davis is known as much for her kindness and warmth as she is for her high standards and ability to get the most out of her students, often without them noticing how hard they are working. Betsy cares deeply about all of her students and creates a sense of caring and community in her class, which allows students to take risks and learn more, and feel comfortable doing it. Her commitment to teaching and her students is evidenced by the fact that her students will come to class early, stay late, and speak French with one another even when class is not in session. In addition to teaching French, Betsy is the International Student Advisor and is often the first person new international students meet when they come to Brookline High School. In this role, Betsy is known to be equally kind and caring, generous of her time and knowledge, and willing to help all students who need it. As a former English Learner teacher, a French teacher, the International Student Advisor, and the point person for exchange programs at Brookline High School, all of her colleagues point to the many hats Betsy effortlessly wears, with grace, kindness, and caring for all people. She is also a mentor and leader with her colleagues, always working on improving curriculum, or getting a jump on technological learning before many other teachers. She always remembers to keep her students’ well-being at the center of what she does and makes a point to make everyone feel welcome. As a master teacher, a welcoming presence to international students, and a friend and mentor to her colleagues, Betsy Davis can now add Caverly winner to her list of accomplishments.
Congratulations to Ms. Stark and Mme Davis!