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Faculty members Lauren Baugher, Spencer Morzano awarded Elicker Award, Keegan Award


Physical education teacher Lauren Baugher and special education teacher Spencer Morzano were awarded the Paul E. Elicker and Brenda Keegan awards, given to educators who have demonstrated notable excellence in teaching and student guidance, Thursday, May 27.

The Elicker award has historically been given to a faculty member who has demonstrated deep appreciation and respect for their subject, while the Keegan has been designated for teachers who inspire critical thinking and personal connections, along with academic discipline and personal engagement with their students, according to the NNHS website.

Baugher detailed her emotions after learning the news. “I’m totally shocked,” she said. “It’s nice to be thought of as someone who has made a difference in kid’s lives.” Baugher also mentioned that she worked alongside Brenda Keegan, whom the award is named after, calling it “just a really big compliment.”

“I have always strived to ensure my students are making progress towards their goal areas, as well as assist with behavioral episodes when they occur,” said Morzano. “I have not done anything differently then any of our other dedicated educators, but I am grateful that my colleagues chose me for this award.”

The Elicker and Keegan awards are both given annually to faculty members via a nomination-based system consisting of parents, students, and other faculty.

Baugher, the winner of the Keegan award, is also the coach for Girls Varsity Softball. Retiring athletic director Tom Giusti said Baugher has been a teacher since “the 1990s, when TJ Williams was the athletic director” and Giusti was a teacher on staff.

Giusti said that he couldn’t recall an educator in the Athletic department ever winning either the Keegan or Elicker, adding it makes Baugher’s nomination much more notable. “It’s a fine tribute to Lauren as a teacher, as a coach, just as a human being at Newton North High School,” said Giusti. “It’s not just the subject she teaches that’s important, it’s the kids in front of her that are really important to her.”

“When Principal Turner called me I didn’t know if I did something wrong, or if I was in trouble for something,” she said. “When he said ‘I have some really good news’, I was thinking, ‘I don’t know what he’s about to say right now’, and I was totally in shock,” she said. “I still kind of am in shock, actually.”

The winner of the Elicker award, Spencer Morzano, works in special education. Morzano has been working at North for four years, and has helped postgraduate special education students transition to adult life. He began his career in special education as an intern at the New England Center for Children, working at the residential program and the inclusion program. He graduated from Simmons College with a Masters Degree during his time there.

Special education department head Emily Bozeman said is “a dedicated and steady educator who always puts the needs of his students first.” 

“I think it is absolutely incredible that Spencer won,” Bozeman added.

Morzano added his appreciation for those in the Special Education department, along with those in the Connections/STRIDE programs, programs aimed to help autistic students and other disabled students with their independence. “I want to stress the fact however that everyone in the Connections/STRIDE program, as well as Special Education in general, deserves to be recognized.”

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