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Christine Cochran, Outstanding Teacher of the Year

Christine Cochran, a first-grade teacher at Brookside Elementary School, was chosen as the 2017 Senator Louis P. Bertonazzi Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She is shown with State Sen. Louis Bertonazzi,(far right) whose foundation presents the annual award, and Superintendent Dr. Kevin McIntyre. Contributed photo.



Christine Cochran, a first-grade teacher at Brookside Elementary School, has been chosen as the 2017 Senator Louis P. Bertonazzi Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award recipient.

For 20 years, the Senator Louis P. Bertonazzi Foundation has awarded an "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" award as a way to recognize exceptional teachers, both in the classroom and in the community. Teachers are nominated for the award by their peers, students, parents, and community members, and each building's School Council chooses a finalist. The foundation's Board of Directors then reaches out to members of the community and asks them to serve on a selection committee to choose that year's award winner.

"What I hear from those members – who are different every year - is that they never knew what extraordinary teachers we have in Milford," said Bertonazzi, presenting Cochran and the five other finalists during the September 7 School Committee Meeting.

Although only one teacher is chosen for the award, Bertonazzi was quick to point out that they were all "winners."

"This year, it was one of the closest finishes we have had," said Bertonazzi. "We had some really excellent [nominations]."

On its 20th anniversary, Bertonazzi reflected back on the years of recognizing education in the Milford Public School district.

"Our schools are the single most important things we have in this community," said Bertonazzi. "This [Outstanding Teacher Award] was intended to be the most prestigious award in the community, and I think we have achieved that."

The finalists and the winner were announced during an assembly on the first day that the teachers report back to school as a way to "kick off the new school year in a positive way," said Bertonazzi.

Each of the nominees received a plaque and the "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" award winner also received a $1,000 cash prize.

"Thank you to the foundation for this wonderful honor," said Cochran after being recognized by the School Committee. "Milford is truly made up of wonderful teachers."

"I have worked in the Milford Public Schools for over 30 years, and during those years I have met many administrators and teachers that have been wonderful mentors and role models," she said.

Cochran commented that over her 30-year tenure, she has had the privilege to teach over 600 students.

"It's those students and their families that make me get up every morning and want to teach," she said.

Along with Cochran, the following teachers were also recognized as finalists in their school building for "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" nominees: Roselle Viegas, Adapted Physical Education Teacher – Shining Star Preschool; Ellen Samiago, Music Teacher – Memorial Elementary School; Kirsten Raymond, Grade 4 Teacher – Woodland Elementary School; Meredith Purtell, Guidance Counselor – Stacy Middle School; Caitlyn Small, Calculus Teacher – Milford High School.




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