Teacher in Addabbo's district wins FLAG award for teaching excellence

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. presented a citation of recognition to a local teacher from P.S. 232 in Lindenwood who recently won the FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence, one of the highest awards in education.

Cheryl Rizzo, an English Language Arts middle school teacher at P.S. 232, was nominated for the award by the school principal thanks to her creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Rizzo was named one of the grand-prize winners and was awarded a $25,000 cash prize as well as a $10,000 grant for her school.

Rizzo was instrumental in making the most of P.S. 232’s outdoor reading garden, where students — as well as faculty and staff — can have a peaceful moment outdoors and learn about caring for nature or create inspirational art pieces. She also helped usher in the school’s Cookies and Conversations afterschool program to help build a literacy community. Rizzo’s creativity and giving nature extend far beyond P.S. 232 as she coordinated a fundraising campaign at the school for the Dolly Parton Foundation.

With the $10,000 grant, Rizzo hopes to remodel the school’s outdoor reading garden with new benches and other artistic upgrades. Whatever happens with the garden, she wants the students to be involved in designing the projects.

“It was an absolute honor to have this great educator in my office and to recognize her hard work and dedication not only to her students, but to the entire Lindenwood community and beyond,” Addabbo said. “Cheryl Rizzo exemplifies what it means to be a teacher and I am proud to have her teaching in my district."