Alumni Educator Awards
Early Childhood PreK-2, 2009; Reading Specialist, 2013
Kristen (Baranofsky) Gray graduated Summa cum Laude from Framingham State University in May 2009 with a B.A. in developmental psychology, and educator licensure in Early Childhood Education, PreK-2. During her undergraduate program, Kristen was a member of two Education Department honor societies, Kappa Delta Pi and Alpha Upsilon Alpha (literacy). After graduation, Kristen taught kindergarten and first grades at the Bridge Elementary School in Lexington, MA from 2009-2016. During that time she obtained her M.Ed. in Language and Literacy in December 2012, and was licensed as a Reading Specialist in 2014. In 2016, Kristen earned a second M. Ed. with an Administrator’s license in Elementary Education Leadership from Endicott College. Since the summer of 2016 she has been serving as Assistant Principal of the Bridge Elementary School. She has served as a trainer in several district and school-wide technology based trainings, and has worked with Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports programs, including specific work to enhance Tier 1 social emotional learning curriculum and school-wide focus on respect and perseverance.
During Kristen’s time as a teacher and administrator in the Lexington Public Schools, she started the student mentor program, which serves over 40 students with sustainable, one-on-one student-teacher relationships. She also served as a mentor to new teachers in her building, and participated in the ELA curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards curriculum review committees. In May 2014 Kristen co-presented with Megan Hinton (grade 1 teacher) and Laura Broach (literacy specialist) at the Massachusetts Reading Association Conference, “Meeting the Standards with Social Studies and Literacy Projects. In September 2013, she was published in the MRA primer, Bringing More Social Studies Content into the Kindergarten Literacy Curriculum, with co-author Laura Broach. In April 2013, Kristen presented at International Reading Association annual conference with Laura Broach and Michelle Koopman, Putting Literacy on the Map with Social Studies Content in Grades K to 3.
Since her days at Framingham State University, Kristen has been committed in her profession to continue to develop and grow as a teacher, leader, and lifelong learner.
English 8-12, 1996
Zachary Galvin graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1993, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Acting and Technical Theatre. After spending two years touring the United States with Landis and Company Theatre of Magic, Zach decided to bring his considerable talents to the classroom. He entered the Post-Baccalaureate Teacher License program at Framingham State University to become an English teacher. After his successful student teaching experience at Natick High School, Zach was hired as an English teacher there in 1996.
Unfortunately, Zach entered his classroom and cancer treatment simultaneously. Amazingly, he missed only two days of school that year, and managed to contribute his theatrical expertise to the high school musical. In 2003, Zach was named a finalist for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.
Now cancer-free, Zach has become a tireless fundraiser and advocate for those with cancer. He organized Zach’s Pack, a Jimmy Fund Marathon Walk team, raising almost $600,000 to date. Each year on February 26, Zach celebrates “Yahoo Day,” inviting his friends, family, and acquaintances to participate in random acts of kindness, large or small, to honor those inside and outside of the medical community who helped him to survive cancer.
Now a vice-principal at Natick High School, Zach is known as a tough but fair administrator whose door is always open to students and staff alike. A few years ago, Zach took on the herculean task of steering Natick High School through the building of the new state-of-the-art high school. Zach was the go-to person for all constituencies affected by the incredibly complex process of building a new Natick High School, closing the old Natick High School, and opening the new school. No issue was too insignificant for Zach to address.
During his tenure at Natick High School, Zach has brought his talents to the drama program and to the ice rink as a member of the girls’ hockey team coaching staff. He has also travelled to China several times to recruit students to study at Natick High. He has been an active member of the Education Association of Natick, serving as a negotiator and representative, the Mass Teachers Association as a representative, and the National Education Association, as a state-wide director representing administrators from Massachusetts.
Every day, Zach continues to inspire others through his work at Natick High School and in his humanitarian endeavors.
History 8-12, 1992
On November 18, 2014, FSU alumnus Greg Lagan was honored, along with alumni of the other Massachusetts state universities, with the Outstanding Educator Award. Mr. Lagan completed FSU’s Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure (PBTL) program, then known as PBTC, in 1992. After teaching in Colombia, Mr. Lagan taught at Framingham High School in the bi-lingual program as well as the history department and served as department head until assuming the role of vice principal in September 2014.
Throughout his time as a history teacher and department head, Greg supported FSU teacher preparation programs in the following ways:
- hosting FSU field study students and student teachers, often several in a single semester, in the history department, and frequently in his classroom.
- visiting teacher preparation classes at FSU and has arranged for members of his department to do so.
- encouraging and helping design Professional Development workshops with FSU faculty for the FHS History Department.
On December 18, 2013 Helen Higgins was chosen by her alma mater, Framingham State
University, to receive an Outstanding Educator Award at the State House in
Boston in recognition of her work in education. Seven other teachers who
graduated from the state university system’s teacher preparation programs also
were given the award. Helen Higgins has taught for thirty-seven years in the
Framingham Public School system, including at the former Lincoln
Elementary, Woodrow Wilson, and Dunning Schools. Most of her experience
has been in grade two. As a supervising practitioner, she has worked closely
with Framingham State University's field study and practicum students.