FACTS Teacher Innovation Award Winners 2023

The FACTS Teacher Innovation Awards was created to recognize exceptional educators creating lasting educational impact through grassroots innovation in their schools. We want to shine a light on the creative teachers making a difference through bold initiatives, commitment to their students, and support of FACTS’ mission to make educational dreams possible through service and technology.

2023-2024 Winners

Patricia Berg

Hasten Hebrew Academy (Indiana)


Remembering the Holocaust: An Interactive Educational Experience

Tricia Berg is a sixth-grade humanities teacher and the K-8 librarian at Hasten Hebrew Academy. She has been an educator for 15 years. Her passions include history, literature, and educational technology. As a teacher who is not Jewish, working in a Jewish school has been an eye-opening experience. She has discovered a new-found passion for Holocaust education and has seen the need for teaching about this dark time in our history as its themes continue to be prominent in our current cultural climate.

Ryan Howard

Xaverian Brothers High School (Westwood, Massachusetts)


Makerspace for All

Ryan is a talented and passionate educator with over 20 years of experience driving innovation and engagement in the classroom, science lab, and makerspace. He’s presently the Director of the X-Ploration Center at Xaverian Brothers High School, having previously served as a science teacher and science department chairperson. Now his role is to help students bring their ideas to life in tangible ways, journeying with them through the process to foster learning, growth, creativity, and the attainment of real-world skills.

Emma Milner-Gorvine

Roycemore School (Evanston, Illinois)


Finding Voice and Power Through Podcasts: Discovering Hispanic Cultures and Developing Life Skills Using Podcast Creation

Emma recently graduated from Earlham College with a Bachelor’s in Spanish and Hispanic Studies with minors in Jewish Studies, Educational Pedagogy, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The cornerstone of her educational philosophy and pedagogy is social justice. By implementing progressive and holistic practices that first and foremost emphasizes her students' humanity, students feel empowered in the classroom.

Meghan Rakus

St. Mary Parochial School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)


Egg Hatching: Bringing Innovation to Life

Meghan is a Holy Family University graduate with a Master’s in Special Education. She is a first-grade teacher at St. Mary Interparochial School. A large part of her teaching philosophy involves social/emotional intelligence using mindfulness as a key tool to aid in development. Meghan’s classes have learned these skills through the practices of writing apology notes, reflecting, and discussing conflicts with their peers.

Leia Reed

Village Christian (Sun Valley, California)


The Deep Sea Tournament

Leia serves as the 3D art and ceramics teacher and Art Department chair at Village Christian. She is a Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) rebel with a BFA in painting, bringing a burst of color and a dash of spice to the world of education. Leia creates a safe and adaptable classroom where students can freely explore their creativity. It is her mission to dismantle the notion that someone is “not artistic.” Her classroom is filled with exceptional artworks from students who initially doubted their creative abilities.

Past Winners

Carina Brossy Arborbrook Christian Academy (North Carolina)

  • Over her 20-year career in education, Carina has helped students understand the lenses through which they see the world, leading international exchange trips and teaching middle school French and Spanish. Guided by her love of international travel and the outdoors, she studied ecology, organic gardening, and gastronomy and brought these skills to her current role teaching K-8 Nature Studies. Carina teaches students organic gardening, wilderness skills, and appreciation for nature – as well as hands-on cooking skills with a global perspective.

    View Carina’s Submission

Nick Johnson Worthington Christian Academy (Ohio)

  • A non-traditional teacher, Nick found his passion for education after a shoulder injury put an end to his professional baseball career. Using his real-world experience in retail, insurance, and the medical device industries, Nick has taught courses including Sports Marketing & Management, Accounting, Personal Finance, and more, all focused on helping students develop professional skills they can use in their future careers. As part of his Small Business Management course, Nick guides students in managing Warrior Café, a student-driven coffee shop, setting sales goals, handling marketing, and seeing what it takes to run a real-life business.

    View Nick’s Submission

Matthew Jones Corpus Christi Catholic (Florida)

  • While Matthew has always had a passion for music and still plays the occasional gig, he feels like teaching is his true calling. As a music teacher with the Diocese of St. Petersburg, he inspires a love of music in his students with lessons grounded in practical application, where students learn internal rhythm, chord theory, and ensemble playing. Many of his students have gone on to accomplish remarkable things with the guitar and ukulele skills learned in Matthew’s classes.

    View Matthew’s Submission

Nina Rozes Roycemore School (Illinois)

Peter Tlusty St. Mary Catholic School (Virginia)

  • A childhood love of space led Peter to his current role teaching technology and engineering design to PK-8 students. As a Civil Air Patrol educator, American Rocketry Challenge mentor, and NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, Peter brings hands-on STEM applications into his lessons, helping students to design, build, and test rockets, rovers, satellites, and more. In addition to teaching students about all things aeronautics, Peter’s students were even able to send their experiment into space through the Cubes in Space program – establishing a love of the cosmos in a whole new generation.