The Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, N.Y., was presented with the U.S. Community Leadership Award by Dr. Chandra Foote, dean of Niagara University's College of Education, Dr. Debra Colley, executive vice president, and Dr. Thomas Sheeran, professor of middle and secondary education.

Niagara University’s College of Education recognized the contributions of educational leaders from the Western New York and Southern Ontario communities during its annual professional recognition ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 6

The event took place at the Conference & Events Center Niagara Falls.

The Loretto Sisters (Ontario Educators of the Year) are members of the Institute of the Blessed Mary, founded in 1609 in England. The sisters arrived in Toronto in 1847 to begin teaching in Catholic schools, and came to the Niagara Falls area in 1861. For over 120 years, the sisters operated and staffed a school for girls in grades 1-13. In recent years, the Loretto Sisters and Niagara University established a partnership to deliver NU’s bachelor of professional studies program. The work of the Loretto Sisters has expanded to include many other forms of ministry.

Tyshae Newton (U.S. Counselor of the Year) is a school counselor at the Randolph Academy. A graduate of Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Canisius College. Newton initially worked in the banking and event planning sectors, before returning to Canisius to pursue a master’s degree in counseling and human services. She landed a full-time position at Randolph in 2014, and has since counseled numerous students while developing an after-school and summer program that teaches health, safety and respect for young women.

Sarah Obot (U.S. Teacher of the Year) is program coordinator of the Maternal and Infant Community Heath Collaborative and the Maternal and Infant Health Project at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. Jointly known as the P3 Center, the programs are dedicated to improving maternal and infant health by providing free services to women, children and families. Chobot is also a member of the Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls initiative, the Healthy Moms Healthy Babies Coalition, the Western New York Prenatal Collaborative, and the March of Dimes Babies Are Worth the Wait initiative.

Lynne Tompkins (U.S. Educational Leader of the Year) has worked in the Niagara Falls City School District for the past 26 years. As a current administrator at Niagara Falls High School, she leads the district’s STEM initiatives in addition to overseeing the high school’s science, special education, languages other than English, and English language learners departments. Tompkins previously served in numerous teaching and administrative roles across the district. Since 2007, she has been a critical partner in developing summer STEM camps for children at Niagara University. Tompkins holds two bachelor’s degrees from SUNY Oswego and two master’s degrees from Niagara University.

The U.S. Community Leadership Award was presented to the Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, N.Y. Founded in Buffalo in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of 30,000 members in nearly 70 countries that empower women through service and advocacy. The Niagara Falls chapter has worked to end violence against women through domestic violence awareness programs, and partnerships with UNICEF, United Nations Population Fund and UN Women. The club has also funded scholarships to improve educational opportunities for girls and women, including two annual awards to attend Niagara University’s Young Women’s STEM Summer Camp. In addition, two NU social work majors were able to attend the 18th annual Family Violence Intervention Project Conference, thanks to the Zonta Club’s generosity.

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