Mary S. Babcock , 1916-2013

About Mary S. Babcock

Mary Babcock, known by many as “Mrs. B.”, was a legendary educator who taught in Swanton, Vermont for for over 40 years.  In all, she served as a public school teacher and administrator for 53 years, teaching well into her 90’s.

Mrs. B. received her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Education from the University of Vermont.  In 1937, she took her first teaching position in a one room schoolhouse in the small town of South Walden, Vermont.  She came to the Swanton Central School as a teacher in 1953.  The local school board was quickly impressed by her dedication, capabilities, and commitment to education, and she was given administrative positions as the Principal of the Swanton Central School and Assistant Principal to the elementary school.

Mrs. B.’s strong commitment to education was well-recognized throughout her career.  The Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union named her “Teacher of the Year”.  The community of Swanton, Vermont paid a special tribute to her in 1990 by deciding to rename the Swanton Elementary School to the Mary S. Babcock Elementary School.

Mary S. Babcock served as a role model to students and teachers in the area.  She believed that STEM education could be especially effective for those students who tended to be more hands-on learners.  She donated a sum of $25,000 to the STEM Challenge Initiative with the hopes that STEM Educational Opportunities might reach more young girls.  For this and all her other lifetime contributions, we at the STEM Challenge Initiative, and indeed all of our community, have a lot to be grateful.  In recognition of all of Mary Babcock’s accomplishments and generosity, the STEM Challenge Initiative members decided to name our annual Teacher of the Year award in her honor.

Nominate an Educator

Are you a school administrator, teacher, parent, or student?  Do you know a deserving teacher or educator who exemplifies the following traits:

If so, then consider nominating this person for the STEM Challenge Initiative Mary S. Babcock Teaching Award.

We are now accepting nominations for the 2020 Mary S. Babcock Award.  Click Here to nominate an individual for this award.  The Babcock Teaching Award has been cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic.  We look forward to resuming this wonderful prestigious award in 2021!

Recipients of the Mary S. Babcock Teaching Award

2019 – Glenn McCabe

Glenn McCabe (right) receives the 2019 Mary S. Babcock Teacher of the Year Award. Cindy Bernier (left) nominated Mr. McCabe and made the award presentation.

Glenn McCabe is a high school science teacher at Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans.  He was nominated for the Babcock award by SCI Board co-chair, Cindy Bernier.  Mr. McCabe taught Cindy’s children physics when they attended BFA.  She noted that Mr. McCabe exemplifies the role of an educator, by going beyond typical job requirements.  He truly wants students to excel and love science and math.  He serves as not only a teacher to his students, but also as a mentor.  Congratulations to Mr. McCabe!

2018 – Julie Kittell

Julie Kittell (left) of MVU receives the 2018 Mary Babcock Award.  The award was presented by Julie’s student, Caylin Bessette (center), and Tim Smith (right).  Photo Credit – Leon Thompson

Julie Kittell is a middle school science teacher at Missisquoi Valley Union Middle/High School.  She was nominated for the Babcock Award by a former student, Caylin Bessette – who was an 8th grade student in Ms. Kittell’s class.  In her nomination, Caylin notes, “Mrs. Kittell will do just about anything to get the students’ creative juices flowing. Problem solving and creativity are keys in her class. She is the most effective STEM educator in our school. Because of her, I developed a strong love for the STEM Field. I want to be an elementary school teacher just because she inspired me and showed me how much of a difference I could make in someone’s life.”

2017 – Rich Ballard

Rich Ballard (center) of MVU was the recipient of the 2017 Mary Babcock Award for Teacher of the year. The Award was presented by Tim Smith (left) and Steve McKenzie (right).

Rich Ballard has been an 8th Grade Science Teacher and is now the Technology Integrationist & MVU STEM Fair Coordinator at Missisquoi Valley Union Middle / High School.  Rich was nominated by his MVU colleague James Daly (MVU Science Teacher).  Rich has played a vital role in the science department at MVU for many years.  He is instrumental in the success of MVU’s Science Fair, which is one of Franklin County’s leading STEM events.  He is also involved with the MVU Maker Space, and he helps to train other MVU educators on using technology in their classrooms.  Congratulations to Rich Ballard!

2016 – Christine Depatie

Swanton principal Dena St. Amour (left) presents Christine Depatie with the 2016 STEM Challenge Initiative Mary S. Babcock Teaching Award.

Christine Depatie is a teacher at the Swanton Elementary School.  In nominating Christine for this award, Swanton principal Dena St. Amour remarks, “Christine teaches with creativity and passion.  Her lesson plans reflect an infusion of STEM subject matter, making her a natural for this award.”