Community Foundation Awards $66,000 to Key West Teachers, including $25,000 to Elizabeth Ford, Teacher of the Year

Nine Key West High School teachers have been awarded a total of $65,000 through the distinguished David Wolkowsky 2022 Teachers of Merit Awards. The awards have been given annually by the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys for over 20 years on behalf of late Key West philanthropist and businessman David Wolkowsky, known as Mr. Key West. The recipients are selected by the school administration.
The 2022 Teacher of the Year is Elizabeth Ford.
Teacher of the Year Elizabeth Ford
Community Foundation CEO Jennifer McComb, board members Susanne Woods and Rosi Ware, Elizabeth Ford, David Wolkowsky’s grand nephew Joe Lipsky, Community Foundation Director of Philanthropic Services Kevin Bowes
Eight other Teachers of Merit each received $5,000:
  • Jennifer Bassett, Student Services
  • Tami Dannacker, Exceptional Student Education
  • Shannon Duffy, Science
  • Gary Hernandez, Humanities
  • Neda Jackson, Math
  • Dina Kinnune, Reading
  • Nora Laubenstein, Social Studies
  • Kelly Roberts, English
Teacher of Merit Awards
Left to right: Neda Jackson, Kelly Roberts, Community Foundation CEO Jennifer McComb, Tami Dannacker, David Wolkowsky's grand nephew Joe Lipsky, Elizabeth Ford, Gary Hernandez, Nora Laubenstein, Dina Kinnune, Lauren Albury, Community Foundation board members Rosi Ware and Dr. Susanne Woods, Principal Dr. Larry Schmiegel. Left to Right on screen: Jennifer Bassett and Shannon Duffy.

“On behalf of the entire Key West High School family, I would like to thank the David Wolkowsky Teachers of Merit Awards Fund. Our deserving awardees all demonstrated a strong commitment to re-engaging all students this school year as we returned from virtual learning. Their collective effort allowed us to significantly reduce the number of at-risk students while increasing our graduation rate,” said Key West High School Principal Larry Schmiegel.

“David Wolkowsky was a visionary who helped create Key West into the eclectic and vibrant community it is today. David valued education and wanted to recognize those hard working and dedicated teachers who are often overlooked and underappreciated. I take great pleasure in being associated with the continuation of David’s gift to the community he loved,” said David Wolkowsky’s grand nephew, attorney Joseph Lipsky, who presented the checks to the honorees.

Learn more about David Wolkowsky, the generous late philanthropist known as “Mr. Key West”.

In addition to the Wolkowsky Awards, Lauren Albury received $1,000 as the 2022 recipient of the annual Harry and Linda Bryant Award. Lauren was selected for her leadership in bringing back the school’s fashion design program and for producing a successful fashion show. Her students will be helping her design and create her own wedding dress.

Tampa area resident Liz Wooten-Reschke is a graduate of Key West High School and created the Harry and Linda Bryant Fund at the Community Foundation in 2020 in memory of her late parents who lived and worked in, volunteered and financially supported the Keys for more than 40 years. Liz’s mother was a long-time English teacher at Key West High School.

“My parents gave countless hours, dollars and support to the Key West community,” says Liz. “It seems only fitting to honor their memory and their commitment by investing in educators at Key West High School.”

To learn more about creating a Community Foundation fund to honor a family member or loved one, visit or call 305-292-1502.

Your Community Foundation of the Florida Keys,In Paradise for Good, has granted over $32 million to benefit every resident from Key Largo to Key West, supporting arts and culture, beautification and preservation of the Keys, health and human services, disaster relief, scholarships, and youth programs. The Community Foundation helps individuals and families leave a legacy in the Keys by inspiring giving and by connecting people, resources and needs through philanthropy, To learn more, visit

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