Rick Hlivko was the 2017 recipient of the Joseph and Anna Marie Karaffa Award for Excellence in Education. Mr. Hlivko has been a teacher for thirteen years in the Toronto City School District and previously taught at East Liverpool High School for fourteen years. He is also an adjunct professor for Eastern Gateway Community College and teaches college level math classes at Toronto Jr.-Sr. High School. He graduated from West Liberty State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics.
Mr. Hlivko received numerous nominations for the award from current students and colleagues. Susan Karaffa Schnell, daughter of Joseph and Anna Marie Karaffa said, “Mr. Hlivko has been described as a “total teacher” because of his commitment inside and outside the classroom.” According to one nominator,”Mr. Hlivko knows some students don’t like the subject matter being taught, yet he tries to make the topics relevant to everyday life, and does whatever can be done to engage students in various ways.” Other nominators noted Mr. Hlivko’s strong commitment to teaching students with disabilities. He frequently stays after school or uses his planning period to work with students who need extra time and attention. He has created an accepting classroom where all students are valued regardless of their intellectual abilities. Mr. Hlivko and his wife Lisa (Parker) Hlivko live in Steubenville with their two sons Ben and Joshua.
The Joseph and Anna Marie Karaffa Award for Excellence in Education is presented annually to a teacher or administrator active in Toronto City Schools. The award was established to recognize the efforts of an outstanding teacher or administrator for creating an environment where teaching and learning are valued. Past recipients include: Cindy Hinerman (2016), Kirk George (2015), Sally George (2015), Jane Brower (2013), Jennifer Dickinson (2012), Donna McCasland (2011), Ellen Hughes (2010), Mary Jo Kuhn (2009), Lynda Glenn (2008), Charlene Starr (2007), Linda Blair (2006), Linda Antonucci (2005), Gary Fisher (2004), Maureen Taggart (2003), James Ray (2002), Susan Buckham (2001), Barbara Carter (2000), Kirk George (1999), and Barbara Pritts (1998). Nominations for the award were accepted from students, teachers, administrators, parents, and alumni.