The SHTA President's Service Award

Each year, the President of the Association presents the President's Service Award to a deserving member of the Shaker Heights Teachers' Association. Since written records have not been maintaine, it is unknown exactly when the idea of this award was first conceived. Past recipients have included Carolyn Booker, Sal Fabrizio, Emil Knorr, Tom Patrick, Don Scherer, and Jean Synor.

In search of information on this historical practice, former SHTA President, William J. Scherer was contacted. He said that Sal Fabrizio, President Emeritus, started the idea back in the 1970's. "The presentation was made to an individual who, during their tenure in Shaker, had contributed significantly to the SHTA. Often it was given to an individual who was retiring and Sal wanted to recognize them for their service. The only real criterion was service to the SHTA; individuals who just simply gave of their time to make the organization what it has become." Bill told me further that he "believes all the recipients were very humbled by the selection and grateful for the recognition they never sought." He said, "I always enjoyed giving that award!"

In the past, the recipient was surprised to learn of the honor at the reception. When Rebecca Thomas became president, she changed that practice in order to provide an opportunity for the family and friends of the awardee to be present at the District Recognition Reception in May.

Once again, this year, someone who has worked tirelessly to serve our Association will be honored with the Service Award plaque. Once again, as always, I will be excited to learn of the President's choice. I hope others will be moved and seek to give of their time, energy, and experience to support and serve the Shaker Heights Teachers' Association with the fervor shown by past recipients.

Respectfully submitted,
Donna Brittain, former SHTA Secretary

Recent SHTA Service Award Winners

  • 2022 Donita Townsend-Al Amin, Paula Klausner, and Margaret "Peg" Rimedio
  • 2022 Monica Triozzi and Bonnie Gordon
  • 2021 Lisa Hardiman
  • 2020 James Schmidt
  • 2019 Aisha M. Fraser, Jackie Conway-Scanlon
  • 2018 Chante Thomas
  • 2017 Michael Sears
  • 2016 Darlene Garrison, Eileen Sweeney
  • 2015 Matthew Zucca
  • 2014 Lena Paskewitz, Addie Tobey, Andrew Glasier
  • 2013 William Scanlon
  • 2012 Susan Mears
  • 2011 John L. Morris
  • 2010 Dollye P. Finney
  • 2009 George Harley
  • 2008 Mike Kobilis
  • 2007 Donna Brittain
  • 2006 Jane Ulrich
  • 2005 Bill Scherer
  • 2004 Darcel Arrington
  • 2003 Stacy Elgart
  • 2002 Rebecca Thomas
  • 2001 Linda Pagel
  • 2000 Delette Walker
  • 1999 Rod MacLeod
  • 1998 Gary Raymont
  • 1997 Paula Freiberg
  • 1996 Steven Fox
  • 1995 Jim Mallin
  • 1994 Pat Baird
  • 1993 Mary Underwood


The SHTA Lifetime Service Award

This Award, established in 2011, recognizes the contributions of an Association member, past or present, who has provided many years of service in various capacities. Unlike the President's Service Award, the Lifetime Service Award is not an annual award. It is meant to serve as a special recognition for a member's devoted service to the Associaton.

2011 Dr. Rebecca L. Thomas


Rebecca L. Thomas worked as an elementary school librarian from 1976 until her retirement in 2011. From 2005 until her retirement, she was president of the SHTA. She also served as Chairperson of the Salary-Tenure Committee; prior to that she chaired the Teacher Education committee and worked closely with newly hired and nontenured teachers.

Dr. Thomas enjoys reading and gardening. She also writes reference books
for ABC-CLIO, including A to Zoo: Subject Access to Picture Books
and the Popular Series Fiction books.

She continues to serve the Association as Past President and can be reached via e-mail at Thomas_R AT shaker.org

2013 Dr. Mark Freeman

Mark Freeman

For  twenty five years, Dr. Mark Freeman served as an exemplary superintendent. When our Association was in its early years, Dr. Freeman was SHTA Grievance Chair and served as a Negotiating Team member.

Dr. Freeman not only negotiated contracts with us, he was one of the architects of the contract that we work by today. He has also been an undeniable champion for professionalism in teaching and respect for public schools throughout the state the nation.

2013 William J. Scherer

Bill retired from the Shaker schools in 2005; he passed away in 2010. He was a dominant figure in the Association for more than 25 years serving on many committees and in leadership positions, most notably as president. He was the longest standing president of the union. Bill was an advocate for teachers' rights and an outspoken proponent of collective bargaining.


2014 Gary P. Raymont


Gary Raymont taught for 34 years in the Shaker Heights City Schools, with one year at Chardon. He was a career member of the Shaker Heights Teachers' Association. Gary taught 5th grade for six years, 6th grade for one year, and kindergarten for 28 years. He has played roles such as head representative, Vice President, Professional Rights and Responsibilities Chair, and Negotiations Team member for five contracts. Gary worked tirelessly on maintaining our medical benefits. His commitment, humor, and enthusiasm were highly valued by the Association.


2015 Dollye Finney


Dollye Finney came to work in the Shaker Height City Schools in 1986. She has worked in Moreland, Ludlow, Fernway, Sussex, Lomond, Boulevard and SHHS as a speech and language pathologist. She joined the union upon employ. She became actively involved in SHTA as a member of the Executive Board under the leadership of her SHTA mentor William Scherer as the Legislative Chair in 1997. After two terms on the Executive Board, she was elected Vice President and served in this office for seven terms.


2016 Donna Brittain


Lifetime Award Winner Donna Brittain's mother was a teacher. When Donna became a teacher, she was encouraged by her mother (and others) to become active in the teachers' association. So, early in her career at Moreland Elementary School, Donna served the SHTA as a building representative. She later served as a building representative for Mercer Elementary and then on the Executive Board as chairperson of the Legal Aid Committee and then the Policy Committee. As the Policy Committee chair, she organized a revision of the Constitution and By-Laws. Finally, Donna was elected to the office of Secretary, where she served for more than ten years until her retirement in 2009. Donna knows that the strength of the SHTA comes from the commitment and service of its members. Not only did she serve the Association throughout her 35 years in the Shaker Heights schools, she also mentored other teachers, including our current Vice President, Matt Zucca. Matt was Donna's student teacher and he was elected Secretary after Donna retired. And Donna continues to serve the Shaker Heights schools. She is the president of the Senior Shakerites, the organization of retired Shaker employees that meets twice a year for programs and collegiality. It is a pleasure to give the 2016 SHTA Lifetime Service Award to Donna Brittain.


2017 Tom Patrick


Lifetime Award Winner Tom Patrick taught High School Mathematics for thirty-six years and one year as a retiree. Tom also served as treasurer for the SHTA for 32 years. During that time, Tom established Our investments committee, Our financial structure, Our budget, and the ambitious goal of one day having a million dollars in Our general fund. It is Tom's financial vision that has given the SHTA the stability that it has today. Tom's legacy is seen in the continuing work of Our Treasurer Bill Scanlon and his vital work on behalf of Our Association. Tom's favorite memory is receiving an award from former President Sal Fabrizio. The words of this award hold as true today as they did in 1987.

Your colleagues wish to express their appreciation for your continuing efforts on their behalf. With you at the helm of our financial ship, we have steered clear of the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles' pronouncement of the "…inevitable dishonesty among those whom we trust with our money…" And today we possess the financial wherewithal to serve our members, and to serve them well. May we continue to be the beneficiaries of your veracity and probity. The strength of your moral character has brought honor to you and a feeling of security to us. Money affects not only morals and ideals, but also the way an organization works. Thanks to your financial leadership, Our Association has the means to fulfill its obligations to its members. May we continue to prosper under your aegis = a model that has set a standard for others to follow. For this Tom, you have our deepest admiration.

It is a pleasure to give the 2017 SHTA Lifetime Service Award to Tom Patrick.


2019 Sal Fabrizio


The 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Former SHTA President Sal Fabrizio for establishing the modern SHTA as we know it. Before Sal's tenure, the SHTA was primarily a social organization that included the Superintendent and provided a spring luncheon for members. Thanks to Sal and his team's tireless efforts, he was able to introduce a contract and collective bargaining to the district. Sal also commuted back and forth to Columbus and was active in establishing the STRS system. Sal Fabrizio also led the movement for SHTA to declare Independence from OEA/NEA. Sal was the leading force, along with others, in crafting the first Master Agreement between SHTA and the Shaker Board Of Education which was a consequence of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4117; for those of you unfamiliar with Chapter 4117 it is Ohio's Public Employees Collective Bargaining Law. The Master Agreement was written while SHTA was still affiliated with the OEA and has been used by OEA as a template for collective bargaining units throughout the state.

Sal Fabrizio taught Social Studies and Economics at Woodbury Junior High and Shaker Heights High School.