2020 Innovation and Leadership Grants Award Reception

February 6, 2020 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

“Tonight we celebrate the gift of Catholic education and the opportunity it allows for innovation, leadership and transformation,” reflected Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, as he led a prayer for the Catholic school educators recently awarded 2020 grants in innovation and leadership.

“Together, we celebrate our common mission and purpose: to help form our young people, to allow for their great potential, their gifts and talents, their wonder and imagination,” Caggiano continued. “Our teachers who minister and serve our children and young people help them to unlock the secrets of the world so that they may have a future that is bright.”

Foundations in Education is pleased to announce 26 grant awards totaling $137,500 to benefit Catholic schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Now in its 3rd year, this competitive program was the first of its kind to offer innovation and leadership grants to teachers and administrators.

The grant program promotes excellence in Catholic education by supporting a teacher’s creative project and professional development. Grants funded through this program are intended for transformative initiatives that benefit multiple grade levels and have a long-term impact on student learning.

“We encourage teachers to discover new and innovative avenues for learning,” explained Foundations’ Executive Director, Holly Doherty-Lemoine. “Teachers are sharing their vision with us and we are investing in them and their students.”

Educators submitted grant proposals from September 15 – October 31, 2019.

This year, Foundations received forty grant proposals from nineteen of the twenty-six Diocesan-sponsored Catholic schools in Fairfield County. The grant requests totaled nearly $300,000, more than double the available funding.

A grants committee carefully reviewed each proposal and submitted recommendations to Foundations’ Board of Trustees for approval. The committee is led by Dr. Julie McNamara, President Emerita of Albertus Magnus College and Foundations’ Board member.

An awards ceremony took place on Thursday, January 30th at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport where grant honorees shared their creative vision with Foundations Board of Trustees, Grant Committee members and Donors.

The event was sponsored by Milestone C, a Connecticut based education company whose mission is to shape future STEM leaders. Co-Founder and COO David Conelias commented, “Foundations in Education and Milestone C are like-minded organizations; supporting one another is the first step to securing the future of a young generation. The Milestone C team is ecstatic to help support Catholic schools in Fairfield County to remain at the cutting edge of academics and leadership development.”

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Foundations in Education continues its ongoing commitment to strengthening and transforming Catholic education.

“These grants will help to make education fun, exciting and innovative for so many students. We are so thankful to Foundations in Education for all they do for the schools,” shared Nancy DiBuono, St. Joseph High School Principal.

Foundations in Education is an independent non-profit initiative created to assist the Diocese of Bridgeport’s ongoing mission to support Catholic education in Fairfield County by supporting innovation in academic and extra-curricular programs, fostering opportunities for the professional development of school leaders and providing scholarship assistance to families in need.

Click here for photos from the event.


  • All Saints School, Norwalk: Entrusting Teachers with the Tools to Create Learning Centers by Lauren Hurd $1,000
  • Assumption Catholic School, Fairfield: Acoustic Relief by Debra Shea $3,500 and Fine Motor Strengthening Activities by Megan O’Rourke Agee $750
  • Cardinal Kung Academy: A Seat at the Table by Alexandra Kimball $11,500
  • Catholic Academy of Bridgeport-St. Augustine Academy: Shaping Future STEM Leaders by Peaches Bernard, Sara Gardner, and Sister Lisa Florio $14,610
  • Greenwich Catholic School: Get On Your Feet, Pre-K Moves to the Beat! by Nicole Welge and Maria Fata $1,850
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, Shelton: Sensory Path Project by Sheila Krawitz $2,000 and Video Production in the Classroom by Laura Loso $3,085
  • Immaculate High School, Danbury: 3D Printer by Jeanine Antonios $3,000 and Innovative Pop Up Art Program by Leslie Quinn $5,700
  • Kolbe Cathedral High School, Bridgeport: Empowering Learners: Creating and Interpreting Media Messages in an Era of Fake News by Shelley Stedman $13,335
  • Notre Dame High School, Fairfield: Notre Dame Art Production and Community Beautification Art Club by Jennifer Strausser $5,000
  • Office of the Superintendent of Schools: Next Generation Catholic Science Education for High Schools $10,500
  • Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy, Wilton: Sewing for Good by Rose Highland $700
  • St. Gregory the Great School, Danbury: Putting on a Podcast by Suzanne Curra $1,500
  • St. James School, Stratford: Learning Center Support Lab by Megan Flood Merwin $5,000 and Success with Smart Televisions by Mary Merly $2,800
  • St. Joseph High School, Trumbull: Aviation and Flight Science by Mattias Mirabile $7,000, ImmerseMe Language Project by Jaqueline Carvalho-Sullivan $4,000, Math in Motion by Robin Berry $3,540, and Put the A into STEAM Education by Kathleen Cardillo, Cindy Richter, and Matthew Kavulich $10,000
  • St. Joseph School, Danbury: Engaging Through Code by David Bongiorno $2,000
  • St. Mark School, Stratford: Educating the Whole Child by Melissa Warner $9,632
  • St. Mary School, Ridgefield: Lego/STEAM by Joanne Seavy $7,500 and Sit or Stand: Flexible Seating Affects Student Achievement and Engagement by Jennifer Kasinskas $5,500
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Fairfield: School-Based Video Program by Paul Piorek and Celeste Davis $2,500