Kathryn Pruskinski

Kathryn Prusinski serves as the president of the Litchfield Elementary School District Educational Foundation. (Photo courtesy of Kathryn Prusinski)

The Litchfield Elementary School District Educational Foundation will host its annual fundraising event at Topgolf on March 31. 

All the funds raised will go toward the yearly Pride Award, which recognizes the district’s teachers and staff.

“It gives everyone an opportunity to laugh and have a great time, visit with friends, not worry about being a great golfer and still support the incredible teachers and staff that we have in the district,” said Kathryn Prusinski, president of the LESDE Foundation. “The reason that we host this is so that we can honor and recognize the district’s top educators and staff members.”

Since the start of the fundraiser five years ago, the foundation has doubled the financial award for each winner and doubled the number of winners, as it now recognizes two per school.  

“It gives our principals an opportunity to recognize top teachers and support staff, and it’s just really that annual recognition that says we know the impact that you’re having on our community and our kids and we want to celebrate you,” Prusinski said. 

As the event nears, Prusinski said the goal is to increase the financial contribution for the awards. Personally, she said she hopes to see each award consist of no less than $500. 

“All of us know that $500 is not even a drop in the bucket for what our top teachers invest into their own classroom,” Prusinski said. “I come from a family of educators, and I know how many times they go into their personal pockets to add those extra elevated experiences for the kids in the classroom. And so this is a way to recognize them and celebrate them and allow them to go to dinner on us one night.”

Pride Awards are presented to teachers and staff, including those in the food services and the transportation departments. 

“I think we’ve all learned through COVID how important and critical those roles are in our school,” she said. 

“I think for a long time maybe we all took bus drivers and cafeteria workers for granted, and what we have learned in the last couple of years is it’s just really important to have individuals in both of those positions that can love our kids while serving them food making sure they get to and from school safely.”

Prusinski said LESD continues to thrive because of its commitment to retention, a quality that she said makes the district stand out. 

“Everything we do is about retaining our top teachers so that we can prepare the very brightest and best students,” she said. 

“We all know that our school districts are only as good as our top teachers, and we want to make sure that the Litchfield district, which has a strong history of retaining all of its amazing teachers, that we stay that way, especially in a market like we’re in right now.” 

Following the fundraiser, the principals from their represented school choose winners for the Pride Award. Prusinski said it’s exciting to see former Pride Award winners now serve in the role as principal, showing their professional growth. 

“We have total trust in our principals to bring us the top candidates,” she said. “We do not participate in reviewing those candidates, and the reason that we don’t is that our principals and our assistant principals are there with these leaders every single day, in and out of the classroom, they are the ones that are best suited to identify those top teachers.”

Prusinski added that the partnerships the district created is a perfect representation of their commitment to their students, teachers and staff. 

“The district has done an incredible job of creating partnerships, partnerships between the teachers and the parents, partnerships between the school administration and the business leaders in the community, partnerships between the district and the chambers of commerce and other economic driving engines,” she said. 

“For me, it’s all about the partnerships and everyone bringing their personal strengths to the table so that we can be stronger as a whole.”

Award winners will be announced in May. Prusinski said she looks forward to the fundraising event and the opportunity to continue to shine a spotlight on the school district. 

“We want to make sure that our teachers know that the community supports them, that the community is in their corner, and that we recognize and value the hard work that they put into the classroom every single day,” she said. 

To register to attendd the event, visit lesdedfoundation.org/golf-