Gerber award

From left, Amesbury Middle School Principal Jared Haas, teachers Cathy Mamakos, Shannon Kennedy and Johanna Kimball, Amesbury Educational Foundation Inc. Vice President Joan Miller (holding the Stroke of Genius trophy), teacher Allison Pearl, middle school Vice Principal Adam Denio and teacher Kat Wilson

AMESBURY — Amesbury Middle School Principal Jared Hass and Assistant Principal Adam Denio accepted the replica quill weathervane trophy after the school’s special education staff was given the Dr. Stephen Gerber Stroke of Genius Award for Educational Leadership late last month.

The Amesbury Educational Foundation, Inc. presented its seventh-annual Gerber award during a special presentation at the high school during the School District’s welcome back ceremony Monday, Aug. 30.

The annual award is named after former longtime Superintendent Gerber. He presented this year’s winners — special education staffers Cathy Mamakos, Allison Pearl, Kat Watson, Shannon Kennedy and music teacher Johanna Kimball — with their award by way of a video conference courtesy of Amesbury Community Television.

“It was wonderful to be able to be back with the entire school staff,” AEFI board President Patty Hoyt said. “I would really like to thank Superintendent Elizabeth McAndrews for inviting us.”

Hoyt said the trophy is a replica of the quill weathervane that used to sit on top of the 19th-century Mill School and has been given to a new recipient and their school each year.

Hoyt added that the quill pen was a symbol of learning for centuries.

“We gave it to (paraprofessional) Pia Froncki from Amesbury Elementary School last year, but we had to hold the ceremony outdoors,” Hoyt said.

According to Hoyt, this year’s winning educators created a pair of grassroots initiatives that supported social and emotional needs for students and their families.

Mamakos, Pearl, Watson and Kennedy created a weekly Life Skills program for their students to bake cookies and muffins, which were then sold to school staff.

Kimball was recognized for rallying staff and students to put on a Reverse Holiday Parade, which replaced the canceled 2020 Holiday Parade last winter.

The Gerber trophy will be displayed in the Middle School lobby for the next year.

Hoyt also said that AEFI has committed to funding innovative grants in the fall. Grant winners will be announced at the annual Autumn Evening of Giving on Monday, Nov. 1 at Ristorante Molise.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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