Skip to content
Home » Valentine's Day » Tompkins Community Bank recognizes local educators with Raymond Van Houtte Teacher Awards

Tompkins Community Bank recognizes local educators with Raymond Van Houtte Teacher Awards

Tompkins Community Bank and the Legacy Foundation are pleased to announce that three Tompkins County teachers were recognized with certificates and monetary awards for their incredible efforts to improve education in their districts. This year’s Raymond Van Houtte Teacher Awards recipients are Robert Fisher of the Newfield Central School District, Heather Murphy of R.C. Buckley Elementary School of the Lansing Central School District, and Kellianne Smith of Beverly J. Martin Elementary of the Ithaca City School District. In total, $1,900 was awarded to these outstanding educators.

Robert Fisher was honored for being an integral part of the Newfield Central School District IT department. Mr. Fisher led a major upgrade to the wireless network which provided the district with the ability to host daily virtual meetings without issue. In 2020, Mr. Fisher migrated the district to a new learning management system which provided the capability to deliver content, build online classrooms, connect with students, and automate classroom procedures. Because of Mr. Fisher’s forward thinking, the learning community consisting of students, families, administrators, and staff greatly benefited from being able to continue with instruction, given the multitude of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Heather Murphy was honored for being a highly-skilled and incredibly passionate educator at R.C. Buckley Elementary School. She has been described as a natural leader in the classroom and throughout the school. Mrs. Murphy is patient and understanding of the needs of her students and their families, her colleagues, and the administration, while recognizing when support is needed. Mrs. Murphy strives to ensure all her students meet their highest potential and level of success and has embraced a strong leadership role as an educator, trainer, and mentor to many professionals. Mrs. Murphy always presents a positive attitude, welcomes new challenges, and strives to continuously improve R.C. Buckley Elementary School.

Heather Murphy

Kellianne Smith was honored as an Education Support Professional and Equity Mentor who is chair member for the Equity Committee at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School. Mrs. Smith is known for providing all children with access to their learning and often supports those who are differently abled or who struggle to participate in class. Through her ability to build positive relationships with her students, Mrs. Smith offers guidance, student empowerment, honest collaboration, family support, and joy to those with whom she interacts. Mrs. Smith is a leader among her colleagues as well as a critical member of the community at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School and is recognized for her invaluable and irreplaceable role within the school.

Kellianne Smith

Raymond Van Houtte Teacher Awards

Tompkins Community Bank established the Raymond Van Houtte Teacher Award in 1989 to honor the late Raymond Van Houtte, retired president of the bank. Tompkins honored him by creating a $25,000 endowment, with earnings on the endowment to be used to fund awards recognizing educators who have shown exceptional ability, effort, and results in improving primary and secondary education in Tompkins County. Since 1991, 104 educators have been recognized with certificates and monetary awards totaling over $76,000. Educators are nominated by individuals, principals, or district superintendents.