Bethlehem Educational Scholastic Trust Award Recipients 

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation presented the Bethlehem Educational Scholastic Trust (BEST) awards to three Bethlehem Area School District teachers at Convocation on Wednesday, August 21, at Liberty High School in the Auditorium.

The Bethlehem Educational Scholastic Trust fund is a component fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. The idea for the BEST Awards began in the year 2000, when a group of community leaders met to discuss ways in which the importance of teaching could be underscored and superior teachers honored for their work. 

The BEST Committee received nominations from parents, teachers, students, BASD employees, and residents of the community. These nominations reflected professionalism and a passion for teaching. The Committee worked diligently to select three (3) award winners from among so worthy a group of nominees. The 2019 BEST Award Recipients are as follows: 

  • Colleen Donegan, Reading Specialist at William Penn Elementary School, received The Seymour and Sophie Haber Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Elementary Level. 
  • Amy Putlock, General Music/Choral Director at Broughal Middle School received the Bernie Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Middle School Level. 
  • Karen Lynn, ESOL Teacher at Freedom High School received The Anthony Ruggiero Award for Excellence in Teaching at the High School Level. 

Each recipient will receive a certificate and monetary award. In addition, their school will also receive a certificate to display in their building. Attached to this press release is information regarding each recipient with his or her biography and photograph. 

Colleen Donegan 

Reading Specialist at William Penn Elementary School 

In my girlhood days I knew that I would love to be a teacher. I am the great granddaughter of Lawrence J. Broughal, a former school board member for Bethlehem. At the end of my college career I was offered a wonderful opportunity to begin my career at Donegan Elementary School teaching grade 3. During my time at Donegan I married James Donegan, the great grandson of John Donegan who also served on the school board for Bethlehem and my name changed from Miss Briody to Mrs. Donegan. Both of these gentlemen were fine Irishman whose legacies have been remembered through the naming of Broughal Junior High School and Donegan Elementary school in Bethlehem. While at Donegan I earned a master’s degree in reading as well as my Reading Specialist Certification. 

In 1996 I continued working with grade 3 at Calypso Elementary. During 2001/2002 I was able to take an educational sabbatical where I enrolled in computer classes. Upon returning I joined William Penn Elementary School as a half time reading specialist, and the other half I spent raising my children. While at William Penn I was trained in Reading Recovery. When my daughter was ready for kindergarten, I was ready for full time work. It was then I joined the William Penn faculty full time where I am currently working as a reading specialist. 

In 2015 I was connected with Dr. Elizabeth Conard, former principal at Calypso, and assisted in teaching her graduate literacy courses at Moravian College. When she retired in 2017 from the summer position, I was offered an adjunct professor position at Moravian College for the summer graduate level literacy courses. 

Teaching has been a rewarding career. I thank all of the administrators, teachers, staff and students who’ve given me the experience and knowledge to become who I am today. 

Amy Putlock 

General Music/Choral Director at Broughal Middle School 

Following a year as an educator in Philadelphia, Amy Putlock has served as the General/Vocal Music Teacher, Choir Director, and Theatre Co-Director at Broughal Middle School for the past 8 years. In addition to the six periods of classroom music she teaches a day, she directs the Broughal Choir and Southside Singers before school & Broughal Theatre and Dance Troupe afterward (and on weekends). Amy actively involves her students in her continuing action research regarding culturally responsive pedagogy in the classroom. 

Karen Lynn 

ESOL Teacher at Freedom High School 

Mrs. Karen Lynn has been teaching English as a Second Language in Bethlehem Area School District since 2005. A graduate of DeSales University, she completed her undergraduate work in Elementary Education, a secondary certification in English and a Masters in TESOL. Currently, Karen is teaching ESOL at Freedom High School, where she also serves as the Department Chair. Not only passionate in teaching English to her students, but in the successful acclimation of ELs to the school environment and community. Each year, she oversees a school wide food drive that culminates with English Learners, dressed as the Three Kings, delivering boxes of food to the community. She also involves her students in the community to practice newly acquired English working on craft activities with residents of Cedarbrook Nursing home, as well career exploration at St. Luke’s through a Career Link partnership. Karen enjoys the outdoors, reading and cooking. She resides in Bethlehem with her husband David and is the mother of two daughters, Samantha and Alexandra.