Main Menu

Explore More


two veterans and woman standing next to american flag and red white blue flowers
Jessica Clark

PHOTO L-R: Ken Korsu, Commander VFW 1607, LeAnn Cassidy, Connecticut’s winner of the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award, and Larry Williams, former Commander of VFW Post 1607.

LeAnn Cassidy, a social studies teacher at Memorial Middle School (MMS), has been named the Connecticut winner for the Smart/Maher Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. She will now be in the running for the National VFW Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year. VFW Post 1607 sponsored her nomination for the award.

“This is the first time that a teacher we have sponsored has won the teacher of the year award. This recognition is a tribute to LeAnn’s efforts and to Region 15 schools for supporting this program,” shared Ken Korsu, Commander of VFW Post 1607.

Cassidy has worked in Region 15 at MMS for twenty-one years, serving as a Social Studies Teacher and concurrently as the Lead Teacher for the past sixteen years.  In 2017-18 she was recognized as Region 15’s Teacher of the Year, and as one of four finalists for the 2018 Connecticut State Teacher of the Year honor. She was also recognized as the Connecticut History Teacher of the Year in 2018 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History,  is a member of the Teacher Advisory Council for the National Constitution Center, and a member of the House of Delegates (HOD) Steering Committee for the National Council for the Social Studies.

Teaching and promoting civic responsibility and patriotism to her students is not only embedded in the school’s curriculum, but has deeply personal roots.

“Years ago, what started as a way to honor my father's service and the service of so many of my family members, has grown to be a celebration of the service of the MMS and greater community.  The wall of honor that I started with fifty veterans has grown to over 700 veterans and includes veterans from every war since the Civil War. Students take the time to learn about them and their service,” Cassidy shared. “Our students, over the years,  have made blankets, written letters, sent socks, made care packages, listened to Veterans speak on their experiences, and worked in so many other ways to promote service to others - an important aspect of being a good citizen. We honor our nation, and those who serve it, when we help our youth to understand the power of service and citizenship.  I am humbled by the honor and know that my work, and the work of so many others, is vital to a thriving nation,” she continued.

“LeAnn is one of the most patriotic women I know. We are proud of her exceptional commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to our students,” said Larry Williams, former Commander of VFW Post 1607.

The VFW launched the Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award in 1999 to recognize classroom teachers for promoting citizenship education. Three teachers, one from each level (grades K-5, 6-8 & 9-12) are selected as national winners.