The Joseph and Anna Marie Karaffa Award for Excellence in Education is presented annually to a teacher or administrator active in Toronto City Schools. The award was established to recognize the efforts of an outstanding teacher or administrator for creating an environment where teaching and learning are valued. Past recipients include: Annie Silverthorn (2021), Tim Fisher (2019), Michelle Blazek (2018), Rick Hlivko (2017), Cindy Hinerman (2016), Kirk George (2015), Sally George (2015), Jane Brower (2013), Jennifer Dickinson (2012), Donna McCasland (2011), Ellen Hughes (2010), Mary Jo Kuhn (2009), Lynda Glenn (2008), Charlene Starr (2007), Linda Blair (2006), Linda Antonucci (2005), Gary Fisher (2004), Maureen Taggart (2003), James Ray (2002), Susan Buckham (2001), Barbara Carter (2000), Kirk George (1999), and Barbara Pritts (1998). Nominations for the award were accepted from students, teachers, administrators, parents, and alumni. This year the award was given to two deserving teachers… Amanda Speece (2022) and Bill Stone (2022).
Amanda Speece has worked in the Toronto City School District since 2005. Before accepting her position in Toronto, she worked as an art teacher for Columbiana Exempted Village Schools and Monongalia County Schools. Mrs. Speece has served as art club advisor, yearbook advisor, and chairperson of the related arts department. She is an adjunct professor at Eastern Gateway Community College and teaches college level courses at Toronto High School. Mrs. Speece is a graduate of West Liberty State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art Education and Muskingum University with a Master’s Degree in Education Art. She and her husband James reside in Mingo with their two sons.
In 1986, Bill Stone began his career in Toronto as a part-time gifted teacher and vocational tutor. Later, he became a social studies teacher at Karaffa Middle School and Toronto High School. During his time in Toronto, Mr. Stone has served as athletic director, social studies department chairperson, Close-Up advisor, and as a coach for baseball, football, basketball, and track. Mr. Stone graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Social Studies. He also took continuing education hours from Ohio University, the University of Dayton, Penn State University, Drake University, and Youngstown State University. Bill resides in Toronto. He has two grown children Jake and Rachael.