Independence Mission Schools (IMS) teachers are in classrooms making a difference in the lives of inner-city students every day. IMS celebrated those achievements and invaluable contributions during its first IMS Teacher Impact Awards event on March 21.

Awards were presented to five teachers who were nominated by their peers, students and parents and selected based on their demonstrated ability to motivate and engage students, provide professional leadership for fellow teachers and positively impact their school community.

The honorees were Jeanne Bellwoar, eighth grade teacher at St. Cyril of Alexandria School in East Lansdowne; Annette Hanagan, Pre-K 4 teacher at St. Helena-Incarnation School, North Philadelphia; Loretta Yogis, fourth grade teacher at St. Frances Cabrini School, West Philadelphia; Donna Rodzewich, eighth grade teacher at Our Mother of Sorrows/St. Ignatius School, West Philadelphia; and Charles Pavonarius, eighth grade teacher at St. Martin of Tours School, Northeast Philadelphia.

Each outstanding teacher selected by the judging committee received a $1,000 prize and a commemorative star award.

“Research supports that a teacher is the single most important factor impacting student learning. IMS teachers positively impact the growth of all students through their ability to see the God-given potential of each one,” said Mary Elizabeth Muir, chief academic officer of Independence Mission Schools.