Foundations in Education announces 2024 grant recipients

BRIDGEPORT—Foundations in Education is pleased to announce more than $150,000 in grants awarded to educators in Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic Schools for 27 projects, with award amounts ranging from $1,102 to $13,000. In its seventh year, this competitive program was the first of its kind in the Diocese of Bridgeport to offer innovation and leadership grants to teachers and administrators.

The awards reception, hosted by Foundations in Education, and featuring Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, was held at Sacred Heart University’s Discovery Science Center and Planetarium on Thursday, February 1.

“Celebrating innovative spirit, creativity, and imagination is very much at the heart of what you and I do as Catholic educators,” reflected Bishop Caggiano to the Catholic school educators awarded 2024 grants in innovation and leadership. “But the leadership part really rests with you!”

“While the beneficiaries tonight are our young people, I want to say thank you to all of you for the wonderful, faithful, creative, and imaginative educators that you are!” he added.

“We encouraged teachers to dare to dream to create an innovative opportunity for their students,” explained Foundations’ Executive Director, Holly Doherty-Lemoine, CFRE. “To the teachers – thank you for forming young minds. You are the difference-makers! We are especially grateful you choose to teach in our Catholic schools.”

The grant program promotes excellence in Catholic education by supporting teachers’ creative projects, innovation 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.

Educators submitted grant proposals from September 15 to October 31, 2023.

A grants committee carefully reviewed each proposal and submitted recommendations to Foundations’ Board of Trustees for approval. Dr. Julie McNamara, President Emerita of Albertus Magnus College and a Foundations Board member, leads the committee. Dr. McNamara is joined by Sister Mary Grace Walsh, ASCJ, George Coleman, Fraser Randolph, Henry Rondon, Paula Summa, Executive Director Holly Doherty-Lemoine and ex-officio members, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Cheeseman and Director of Innovation and Instructional Improvement Alan Barnicle.

This year, for the first time, the Foundations in Education Innovation and Leadership Grants Committee promoted a specific project, encouraging a group of intrepid educators to integrate Lego Education STEM Learning Tools in their instruction. Thirteen grantees across ten schools comprised the cohort of awardees who will be trained this summer on Lego Spike education.

The Innovation and Leadership Grants initiative was created from the vision of Bishop Frank Caggiano that supporting educators’ creative ideas would promote innovation within all diocesan schools.

Photos by Amy Mortensen

The awards ceremony celebrated in Bridgeport gave grant honorees the opportunity to share their creative vision with Foundations’ Board of Trustees, Grant Committee members and Donors assembled for the occasion.

Milestone C, a Connecticut-based education company whose mission is to shape future STEM leaders, sponsored the event.

Two former awardees featured exhibits of their 2023-2024 grants they are currently implementing at the event. This year, Beth Cherico from St. James School in Stratford displayed her grant, Let’s Fly-Drone Technology, and Dr. Stephanie Rugg from Immaculate High School in Danbury displayed her grant, Measuring pH & Spectrophotometry.

Cherico shared, “It’s exciting to see our eighth-grade Maker Space students not only learn to fly drones, which is no easy feat, but also learn creative problem-solving, the design process, and how to apply it to academic subjects such as geography, science, and math.”

Dr. Rugg commented, “Labs are critical for science classes in order for students to understand the concepts. The grant has allowed students to do multiple lab experiments which has helped excite them, engage them, and ultimately enjoy the course even more.”

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

“Our donors make this program possible and we are grateful to all who value innovation and leadership in the classroom,” shared Holly Doherty-Lemoine. “Thanks to their generous support, we are able to help strengthen and transform Catholic education through these grants.”

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. To learn more, visit


2024-2025 Innovation & Leadership Grants

  • All Saints Catholic School, Norwalk: Engineers for Tomorrow Creative Classroom by Xavier Guzman $6,000
  • All Saints Catholic School, Norwalk: Lego Spike Essential & Prime by Chanda Goodwin $4,102
  • Assumption Catholic School, Fairfield: Lego Spike Essential & Prime by Jennifer Geaney and Kathy Andrade $4,102
  • Catholic Academy of Bridgeport-St. Augustine Academy: Drones by Peaches Bernard $6,500
  • Catholic Academy of Bridgeport-St. Augustine Academy: Promoting Hands-On Learning in Middle School Science Classroom by Jennifer Mozdzer $1,919
  • Cardinal Kung Academy, Stamford: Lego Spike Prime by Grace Connelly and Regan Bradley $5,062
  • Greenwich Catholic School: Lego Spike Essential by William Thomas $4,102
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, Shelton: Lego Spike Prime by Brian O’Neill $5,062
  • St. Gregory the Great School, Danbury: Innovation Zone 2.0: Better and Faster Equals More Fun and Learning! by Teresa Lazzara $8,350
  • St. Gregory the Great School, Danbury: Lego Spike Prime by Emily Jennings $5,062
  • St. James School, Stratford: Arts for Everyone by Alexander Constantine $4,124
  • St. James School, Stratford: Lego Spike Essential by Tracey Broderick $4,102
  • St. Joseph High School, Trumbull: Advanced Flight Tech Gear Package by Coleman Daley $5,486
  • St. Joseph High School, Trumbull: Biotechnology-Biomedical Pathway Development by Lucas Fatsy $7,500
  • St. Joseph High School, Trumbull: Spectroscopy in the 21st Century by Tim Tallcouch $5,000
  • St. Joseph High School, Trumbull: Transforming Science Education to Meet Needs of the 21st Century by E. George Marrash $7,302
  • St. Joseph High School, Trumbull: Vex Robotics: Advanced Vex Robotics & Engineering by Daniel McDonagh $6,178
  • St. Joseph School, Danbury: Time Travel by Dr. Louis F. Howe, Jr. $10,000
  • St. Mark School, Stratford: Lego Spike Essential by Sarah Carrano and Alexander Kennedy $4,102
  • St. Mary School, Bethel: Interacting within the Classroom by Scott Smith $13,000
  • St. Mary School, Bethel: World Language and Cultures Program Improvement by Sarah E. Herring $1,400
  • St. Mary School, Bethel: Young Scientist Fun by Rose Schlemmer $1,102
  • St. Mary School, Ridgefield: PreK Outdoor Sensory Play Center by Carolyn Swan, Jennifer Santangelo, Tricia Misurelli, Taylor Sechi, and Cathleen Curtin $7,500
  • St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown: Lego Spike Prime by Gina Quinn $5,062
  • St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown: Pottery for People in Need by Meagan Ferriter $2,830
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Fairfield: Lego Spike Prime by Paul Piorek $5,062
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Fairfield: Visualizing the Future of Education with Virtual Reality by Marybeth Pirrie $10,000