Sarah Swiger Award

Sarah Swiger served Winchester many years as a School Committee member, community activist and education advocate. Her work was recognized across Massachusetts, her death in 2014 is a loss that is still keenly felt by her family, colleagues and educators. WFEE is proud to honor Sarah with the annual presentation of the Sarah Swiger Award.


Sarah Swiger, Winchester Educator

Kim Burke Flowers.jpg

Judy Hession,Winchester High school

Kim Burke, McCall Middle School

Julie McElaney-gorman, elementary math coach

are the recipients of

the 2020 Sarah Swiger Award.

Each year WFEE identifies one educator to receive the Sarah Swiger Award, recognizing a teacher focused on the whole child. But, in 2020, WFEE's fifth year of making this award, we couldn't pick just one. 

"Judy Hession worked a lifetime, not for the praise, but for the students."

50 years an educator, Judy Hession is retiring in 2020. A teacher of both English and Drama, Ms. Hession is known for her compassion, generosity and ability to reach students who struggle with everything from academic issues to emotional ones.

"Expressing yourself creatively is one of the most important parts of growing and learning. Everyone is born with talents but they must be developed. practiced, and expanded." Judy Hession

McCall Middle School educator Kim Burke is known for her motto, "I teach kids, not curriculum." In nominating her for this award one teacher noted, "She epitomizes what it means to be a good teacher to ALL students. Colleagues treasure her sunny disposition and collaborative approach to teaching and learning. 

"We are all better when we work together and share. I teach because I believe every single person can learn. I want to help everyone believe that about themselves too." Kim Burke

Julie McElaney-Gorman is known to her elementary school colleagues across the district as an educator who makes learning fun for all students, a person who teachs kids that making mistakes is just one way to help their brains grow. After 19 years at Lincoln Elementary School, Julie is now the elementary math coach for the entire district. 

"Staying focused on the whole child is the cornerstone of all my teaching. Knowing that student's emotional well-being is in our care means every interaction with our students needs to be thoughtful and caring. Children come to schools as unique and special people; to create a safe and happy place for them to grow is an honor and responsibility I cherish." Julie McElaney-Gorman

WFEE is proud to honor these extraordinary educators, giving each a $1,000 grant to be used for their work. We know that Sarah joins the WFEE Board of Trustees in saying thank you for your work that is truly changing lives.