Graphic with the four 2023 R.E.B. winners

Worldwide adventures in learning await four Chesterfield County teachers who were today named 2023 winners of R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Each will receive $15,000 for unique professional development experiences. A partnership between the Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation, the awards annually recognize outstanding public school teachers in central Virginia.

“The R.E.B. awards make a big difference each year. While rewarding our extraordinary teachers for their exceptional work, the grants also create even more remarkable learning environments in our classrooms,” said Dr. Mervin B. Daugherty, superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools. “We are so appreciative of the parents, colleagues and community partners who nominated our teachers because they saw their dedication and passion for engaging and immersing their students in learning.”

Here are the winners in Chesterfield County Public Schools:

  • Mary Elise Chonko, baking and pastry arts teacher at the Career and Technical Center @ Hull, won $15,000 to study the future of pastry in Asia, gaining firsthand experience of how Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia dominate the world’s pastry scene.
  • Lily Hungarland, social studies teacher at Carver Middle, won $15,000 to explore cultural identity, unity and reconstruction after World War II in Japan and Germany.
  • Peter Schumacher, English teacher at James River High, won $15,000 to elevate students’ exposure to courage during the Civil Rights Movement by visiting landmarks, museums and people across eight states.
  • Ramón Zabala, Spanish and French teacher at Matoaca High, won $15,000 to explore Hispanic heritage by experiencing history, food and culture in Caribbean and South American countries.

In addition to the four teachers selected as R.E.B. winners, five Chesterfield County Public Schools teachers were recognized as finalists and will receive $1,000 grants in recognition of their achievements in the classroom: Danielle Rioux of Reams Road Elementary; Kristin Thrower of Meadowbrook High; Kristen Hepburn of Greenfield Elementary; Sherry Nyquist of Wells Elementary; and Kellilyn Jones of Clover Hill High.