2016 Azalea Awardees

azalea-awards-logo-taglineThe Takoma Foundation presented the 2016 Azalea Awards at the Celebrate Takoma festival on May 14, 2016. Congratulations to these individuals for going above and beyond to make a difference in our community!


 The nominees and winners are listed below (winners are underlined).



ARTS (tie)

azalea-2016-edwards-grahamBusy Graham combines superhuman energy with a commitment to bringing music and dance to Takoma Park and surrounding areas.

Yvonne Edwards, founder of Knock on Wood, has been teaching greater Takoma residents to shuffle and flap since 1994.

Victoria Gau brings classical music to her Takoma neighbors through her work with the Takoma Ensemble, Capital City Symphony, and National Philharmonic.

Joel Snyder uses audio description to make the arts—including live performances, film/television, and museum exhibits—accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.



Eric Hardy, the friendly manager of Old Town’s Ace Hardware, goes out of his way to accommodate his customers’ often quirky needs and support local organizations.

Antonio Castillo teaches dance in local schools and at his own Takoma Break Dancing School.
Nok Kim, of Silver Spring’s Rainbow Laundromat, combines business with community service with “while-you-wash” tutoring.

Danny Wells is chef and co-owner of Republic, where the menu, décor, and even the name pay homage to Takoma Park.



Brian Baker coaches soccer and cross country at Takoma Park Middle School in addition to running the popular Ski Club.
Mike Fisher moved mountains to create a winter recreational basketball league for 7th-grade girls.
MaryBeth Hastings and Howard Wilkins can coach soccer girls into soccer women to rule the world.
Michele Rovins and Kate McDuffie coach the girls on their team in self-confidence as well as in soccer.
Helen Shepherd has served for many years as coach or captain of various kids’ basketball, outdoor and indoor soccer, and tennis teams and is a commissioner of Takoma Soccer.



azalea-2016-hill-robinetteLori Hill and John Robinette produce entertaining videos to educate people about environmental practices, which they also model in their everyday activities.

Paul Chrostowski is an environmental scientist who serves on the Committee on the Environment and has provided guidance on many Takoma Park initiatives including the Safe Grow ordinance.
Rita and Paul Marth transformed an overgrown city-owned lot from an eyesore into a neighborhood garden spot.



azalea-2016-holly-pasquale2Holly Pasquale, TPMS instrumental music teacher and maestro extraordinaire, works wonders with our children at one of their most challenging stages, consistently earning “superior” ratings and wowing competition judges with her ensembles.
Lynne Haisley shows up with compassion and kindness wherever she is needed at TPES—classroom, lunchroom, or playground—to make a difference for  her students.
Krishni Patrick brings her enthusiasm for math, science, and technology to every child at Piney Branch Elementary.
Samir Paul, 2016 Rising Star Teacher of the Year and himself a Blair alumnus, teaches computer science and runs a computer science mentoring program at Montgomery Blair High School.



Abby Golden, Takoma Park Elementary’s beloved guidance counselor, makes every child in the school feel special while meeting their emotional—and, often, physical—needs.
Jennifer Manguera leads her Girl Scout Troop 1273 in myriad community service activities, in addition to selling cookies.

Friendly and approachable, Takoma Park Middle School counselor Carmen Martinez engages with students and their families to support their success.


azalea-2016-margaret-buraimoh2Margaret Buraimoh has risen to the forefront of tenant rights and affordable housing reform in her own Hampshire Towers community and throughout Takoma Park.
The unofficial “mayor” of his East Silver Spring neighborhood, 
Tim Haverland lends his talents to many worthy causes.
Denise Jones mentors children and parents in her Essex House community and serves on the tenants’ association board.
Keith Kozloff is active on many different fronts—from community involvement through CHEER, to preserving and cleaning up the McLaughlin woods, to green energy.

Jane Welna works behind the scenes in Hodges Heights, organizing activities such as Earth Day cleanup and mosquito control.



azalea-2016-moreno2As PTSA president at Montgomery Blair High School, Ray Moreno has worked to promote student achievement and community involvement.
Vanessa Pinto conducts Spanish literacy and other parent education and empowerment programs at New Hampshire Estates and other local elementary schools.
Year in, year out, 
Amy Wajda spends countless hours volunteering at events and working behind the scenes for the Takoma Park Elementary PTA.
Ellen Zavian focuses on cybersafety, security, "digital citizenship," and other technology issues at Piney Branch Elementary and across the county.



azalea-2016-egan-herman2Tara Egan and Gene Herman became unlikely partners a year ago to rescue Takoma Park’s iconic July 4th parade.
Colleen DiPaul organizes weekly intergenerational game nights as well as one-time intergenerational play events.
With her work on summer lunch-and-learn programs, City committees, and Lifelong Takoma, 
Doris Duarte exemplifies what one active citizen can do to help many.   
Mary Ann Ryan is the founder and director of Takoma Porch, which brings local musicians to Old Town front porches for a multi-stage music festival.



azalea-2016-cindy-dyballa2Cindy Dyballa has served for many years on the City’s Environment and Recreation committees and was instrumental in preserving the woods behind the old McLaughlin school.Lichelle Lawson is a model of generous, optimistic leadership in her Pinecrest neighborhood, the kind that makes Takoma Park a special place to live.
Lorraine Pearsall helps protect the integrity of Montgomery County’s largest historic district and the greater community.
In addition to her work on various other fronts, 
Charlotte Schoenemannheads up the Go Mom Go community of single moms.



Katya Partan was presented with an Azalea award for her years of service to the community and contribution to schools and PTA's.