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Sunday, September 15 News

Green Farms educator named Westport Teacher of the Year

WESTPORT — Stacy Fowle has been named Westport’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Fowle, a fifth grade teacher at Green Farms Elementary School, was honored as the award’s recipient at the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday. She was also one of 13 nominees this year.

“To describe Stacy the words that come to mind are dedicated, passionate, caring, collaborative, flexible, and patient, and one that cares deeply about their students and their well-being,” Kevin Cazzetta, principal of Green Farms Elementary School, said.

He added Fowle has always gone above and beyond to meet her students’ needs.

“She has created in her classroom an environment where all her students, from those that struggle to the highest achievers, are successful,” Cazzetta said.

Fowle also took her personal passion for the environment and spearheaded the Green Farms Zero Waste initiative, he said.

“Stacy, a product of the Westport public schools, truly exemplifies the GFS spirit,” Cazzetta said.

Fowle said as a longtime Westport resident she feels deeply connected to the town’s schools. This summer while at town hall she saw a plaque that listed past winners of the Teacher of the Year award. While viewing the award she noticed several teachers she personally took as a student.

“As a former student, as a parent, as a community member, and as a colleague I’m honored to be joining this illustrious group,” Fowle said. “I’m thrilled to know my name will be going on that plaque and my kids can go downtown and see my name there too.”

She added her colleagues and administrators have helped her in her journey.

“I love my school so much and I feel so lucky to work in such a vibrant and supportive environment,” Fowle said.

In Sept. 2018 she would help form the Green Farms Zero Waste Committee, which would aimed to reduce food waste in GFS’ cafeteria through composting. The committee was comprised of teachers, administrators, parents, volunteers and more.

“Our goal was to set up something that’s more like what you would see at say a Whole Foods with four bins,” she said. “One would be for food scraps. One would be for recycling. One for liquids and one for trash.”

Through the work of the committee and students the school saw tremendous results.

“By June we had removed more than two times of waste from the Green Farms’ waste stream,” Fowle said.

Over the course of the year she also learned much herself, she said. From learning the power of collaboration to witnessing the lasting impact of the initiative on students, Fowle said she was proud of the work done at GFS.

“I’m excited to report other schools are now forming their own zero waste committees,” Fowle said. “Once we have zero waste committees in all of the schools we’ll be able to break down the silos that are separating us and start to truly collaborate, creating a powerful force for change in our district.”

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dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com

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