Call for Nominations: 2024 Heller-Dabrowski Award for Outstanding High School Teacher in the Cleveland Section

The Cleveland Section of the American Chemical Society annually sponsors a $1000 award to recognize an outstanding high school chemistry teacher in the Cleveland Section. The award is named for Irene Heller of North Olmsted High School and Betty Dabrowski of Magnificat High School in recognition of their contributions as outstanding high school chemistry teachers and their service to the Cleveland Section.

The award is presented annually at the April Cleveland section meeting. To nominate a high school teacher, please send a letter of nomination through the “contact us” portal on our webpage ( Strong nominations have included comments from students as well as colleagues and supervisors. To be considered for an award this year, please send nominations no later than March 1st .

About Irene C. Heller and Elizabeth (Betty) Dabrowski:

Irene Heller taught chemistry at North Olmsted High School from 1967 until her untimely death in 1996. Born in Cleveland in 1944, she graduated from the University of Toledo with degrees in Chemistry and Education. Irene hosted the local Chemistry Olympiad annually at North Olmsted High School from 1985 through 1995. Recognized for her work with the North Olmsted Outstanding Chemistry Teacher award in 1986 and in 1995 with the most Influential Teacher award, Irene was a member of the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Regional Council of Science Teachers, in Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and a member of the Energy Education Advisory Council for CEI. She was active in the Cleveland Section of the American Chemical Society, in the High School Affairs committee, and served as Secretary for the Section in 1995 and 1996. In 1993, as part of the Centennial Celebration of the Cleveland Section, Irene was awarded the Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher Award. In 1996, after her death, the Executive Committee of the Section approved an annual award in her memory.

Elizabeth (Betty) M. Dabrowski was a 1972 graduate of John Carroll University with a B.S. in Chemistry and a 1974 graduate of Case Western Reserve University with an M.S. in Chemistry. She completed her coursework for teacher certification in 1979 at John Carroll and held a permanent teaching certificate from the State of Ohio. She first taught chemistry at Yavne High School, then at St. Ignatius High School. Afterward, she taught chemistry and science for over 35 years at Magnificat High School in Rocky River until her retirement in 2014. Betty also served as Science Department Chair at Magnificat for 15 years. As a member of the ACS Cleveland Section, starting in 1974, Betty has chaired the Cleveland Section in 2001, served as Secretary, and co-chaired the High School Affairs Committee, as well as the National Chemistry Week committee for library programs. She was the 1998 recipient of the Irene C. Heller Award for High School Teaching. Betty also became a Fellow of the ACS in 2011 for her outstanding achievements. Serving until the end, Betty was a Trustee of the Cleveland Section until her death in 2018, after which the Heller Award for High School Chemistry was renamed the Heller-Dabrowski Award in her memory.

Previous Winners of the Heller-Dabrowski Award
Irene C. Heller, North Olmsted High School, 1993
Fen Lewis, Strongsville High School, 1997
Elizabeth Dabrowski, Magnificat High School, 1998
Jesse Bernstein, Hawken School, 1999
Judith Lachvayder, Parma Senior High School, 2000
Lois Kuhns, Chardon High School, 2001
Sean McGuan, Riverside High School, Lake County, 2002
Olga Gueits, Lincoln West High School, 2003
Marylin Rohr, Chardon High School, 2005
Roger Storm, Fairview Park High School, 2006
John P. Davis, Kenston High School, 2007
Kristin J. Gregory,West Geauga High School, 2008
Lori Koss,Magnificat High School, 2009
Christine Deighan, Chagrin Falls High School, 2010
Nikki Anderson, Vermillion High School, 2011
Beth A. Smith, Brecksville-Broadview Heights H.S., 2012
Dr. Russ Mauer, Hawken Upper School, 2014
Anne Lavelle, St. Edwards High School, 2016
Sr. Mary Karen Dolovacky, SND, Cleveland Central Catholic High School, 2017
Richard Kawolics, Laurel School, 2019
Lisa Cumming, Olmsted Falls High School, 2020
Kimberly Swaggard-Svec, Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, 2021
Sarah Rivera, Mayfield High School, 2022
Mary Brown, John Marshall Engineering School, 2023