Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Waters Award recipients  Joseph Vissichelli and  Dr. John Hosmer!

At a Veteran’s Day assembly at Ironwood Ridge High School, Reverend James Briney was inspired by the exchange between the veterans who had fought for our freedoms and the educators and students who were now exercising those freedoms in an atmosphere of learning. In his effort to honor teachers and students, Reverend Briney created the Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award and the Hiremath Student Integrity Prize through the Excellent Educator & Student Integrity Fund established at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona in 2014.

The fund awards a cash prize to both an educator nominated by colleagues for their excellence and authentic inspiration to students and to a student who submits an integrity essay. “The important thing is that you recognize the presence of integrity when you look in the mirror,” shared Reverend Briney, who hopes to see the awards become models for even more high schools in the future to recognize excellent teachers and students who explore the notion of integrity.

The Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award honors the career of Lou Waters, who has dedicated his life to informing and educating our community, our nation, and the world. Educators at Ironwood Ridge High School and University High School are eligible for the Waters Award, based on their devotion and competence.

The next nominations will open at the beginning of 2025!

Questions? Contact our Community Impact Team at community@cfsaz.org or by phone at 520-770-0800.

Past Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award Recipients

2023-2024
  • Joseph Vissichelli, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (Ironwood Ridge)
  • Damaris Zatarain Espinoza, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (Ironwood Ridge)
  • Dr. John Hosmer, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (University High)
  • Jayden Clemit, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (University High)
2022-2023
  • Kaitlyn Rini, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (Ironwood Ridge)
  • Madison McCartt, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (Ironwood Ridge)
  • Megan Cassidy, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (University High)
  • Katherine Wilbur, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (University High)
2021-2022
  • Paul DesJarlais, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (Ironwood Ridge)
  • Maisey Stephens, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (Ironwood Ridge) 
2020-2021
  • Janet Ackerman, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (Ironwood Ridge)
  • Ben Hernandez, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (Ironwood Ridge) 
  • Marcos Flores, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (University High) 
  • Camila Grubb, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (University High) 
2019-2020
  • Lori Gipson, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (Ironwood Ridge) 
  • Emily Pickard, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (Ironwood Ridge) 
  • Whitney Sheets, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award (University High) 
  • Chet Oreck, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize (University High) 
2018-2019
  • Christopher Rohrer, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award
  • Joanna Mona, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize
2017-2018
  • Mark Hodge, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award
  • Kelsey Abel, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize
2016-2017
  • Ryan Maish, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award
  • Sydney Baumgardner, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize
2015-2016
  • Nicole Blanchard, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award
  • Patrick Klass, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize
2014-2015
  • Rebecca Scheel, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award
  • Kyle Taylor, Hiremath Student Integrity Prize
2013-2014
  • Don Dickinson, Waters Excellent Educator Recognition Award

I really would like to thank everyone that had a hand in giving me this award and I am overjoyed at the notion that others think of me in this way. It makes my life more complete.

— Joseph Vissichelli