The George Peabody Legacy Award is presented by the Peabody Education Foundation to recognize and honor the educators and philanthropists from within the community who work to provide a lifetime of contributions to our educational system.  It is an honor to recognize educators who have gone above and beyond to make a lasting difference in the lives of their students.  In the classroom they are both learners and facilitators of learning. They attend to the social and emotional needs of their students making a lasting, positive impact by providing a progressive learning atmosphere meeting the needs of every, individual child.

Congratulations to our 2022 George Peabody Legacy Award Recipients!

The Peabody Education Foundation is pleased to announce the names of this year’s George Peabody Legacy Award Recipients! This award was created to recognize and honor the educators and philanthropists from within the community who work to provide a lifetime of contributions to our educational system.  Nominations for this award were solicited from the public and selected by a nomination committee.  In total, this year we selected six (6) recipients to receive this honor from the many nominations that we received:


  • Eric M. Buckley (Retired)
  • Ellen O. Burke (Posthumously)
  • Michalene E. Hague (Currently Teaching)
  • Judith M. McVann (Currently teaching)
  • Mark Metropolis (Retired)
  • Linda S. Robbins (Retired)
The nominated person has met the following criteria:
Has had a lasting impact on Education

Effects change for the good of the people over a significant period of time

Is an active member in the Peabody Community

Tireless advocate for the betterment of Peabody students

Lives or works in Peabody

Thank you for a great event!

An Awards Ceremony was held at the Higgins Middle School on Thursday, October 20th, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the event and our recipients including our event sponsors and volunteers!!

About our Recipients … 

Eric M. Buckley

Retired – Eric Buckley was employed at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School for over twenty-five (25) years. Originally hired as a permanent substitute teacher, Eric eventually served as a History Teacher, History Department Head, Guidance Counselor, Assistant Principal and Principal. Eric was totally devoted to his profession and the children of Peabody. He respected his fellow teachers, administration, and most importantly all his students.

Michalene E. Hague

Currently Teaching – Michalene has taught at PVMHS for over 50 years. She still serves as the Head of the English Department where she has played a pivotal role in creating the high school’s English curriculum, including developing a wide variety of ELA classes such as Sports Writing, The Graphic Novel, Mystery and Detective Fiction, and Girl Power in the 21st Century. She is a fierce advocate for providing students with the opportunity to study a variety of genres and for exposing students to a multitude of cultural influences. Her philosophy of preparing students to be global citizens includes celebrating diversity, recognizing different abilities, encouraging questions, and respecting all. Her approach to literature weaves history into her lessons, connecting academic material to real life, while her methods for writing address integrity, vetted source material, and purpose, ensuring that classwork equips students for the workplace. As a classroom teacher, she sets the bar high, holding her students to standards that ultimately prepare them for college, careers, and life, even inspiring many to become authors themselves. Perhaps even more important, Michalene exemplifies kindness, personal comportment, supportiveness, and a commitment to the goal of excellence, making her the ultimate role model for both her students and her colleagues. Three generations of students are better off for having been guided into adulthood by her, and that’s quite a legacy!

Mark Metropolis

Retired – A lifelong resident of Peabody, Mark has dedicated his life to the students and youth of our City, having a positive impact on their lives in and out of school, as a teacher, coach, class advisor, ski club advisor, counselor, and youth group leader. As a teacher at PVMHS, Metro, as he was affectionately nicknamed by his students and peers, helped develop the electronics program, which he was a part of for most of his teaching career. He taught and mentored countless vocational students who went on to have successful careers in various industries, including telecom, IT management, electronic repair and electrical. His style was one that made even the most vulnerable students feel appreciated in school and assisted them in successfully completing their high school diploma, in many cases, enabling them to achieve college degrees. Mark has left an impact on generations of students in the City of Peabody.

Ellen O. Burke

Posthumously – Ellen Burke was an amazing person, teacher, mentor, friend, and active member in our community. She was an educator like no other. Ellen left lasting impressions on so many of her students and colleagues. She not only taught her students academics, but she also taught them life-long lessons about compassion, about the importance of making connections, about building positive relationships and about having a little fun and a few laughs along the way. Ellen was full of life and full of love. She loved teaching. She loved her students, and they loved her. The legacy of Mrs. Burke will remain in the hearts of all who had the opportunity to know her. Ellen Burke was a teacher, but she was so much more!

Judith M. McVann

Currently Teaching – Judith has been a Higgins Middle School math teacher for over twenty (20) years. She has inspired, motivated and taught math skills to thousands of children. Whether she was teaching high achieving students or supporting struggling students, she always had high expectations and motivated them to do their best work. Her students often fondly referred to her as “Mamma McVann”. She understands the value of treating the whole child; educational, emotional, and meeting basic needs. Her impact lasts far beyond the sixth grade, as she lays the foundation for high school and beyond.

Linda S. Robbins

Retired – As a teacher in Special Education, Linda created a safe and supportive environment that provided students with the ability to grow and flourish both inside and out of school. Her work demonstrated commitment, dedication, and service to hundreds of extraordinary students and their families. Linda worked tirelessly to provide academic and life skills to her student groups and she worked closely with student volunteers to support their understanding of working with peers, and how to better engage with one another on a personal level. Besides the usual school subjects, Linda taught her students their way around a kitchen, financial literacy, and helped connect them with employment opportunities at local organization, such as the library and skating rink. She fiercely believed in her students and readied them for life outside of school. Inclusion was always a top priority. Linda believed that people of all abilities should be treated by our education system and society with dignity, patience, and respect. Many of her former students, now well into adulthood, are better off because she was a part of their lives. Linda made PVMHS a better place for students who have been historically underserved. She is an inspiration to all who strive to work with people with disabilities. She deserves this honor!

About George Peabody

George Peabody was a successful, self-educated entrepreneur who became the world’s first international philanthropist. He provided benefactions in his own lifetime of which many continue more than 150 years later to benefit people in both the United States and England. George Peabody also supported universal education, establishing libraries and lyceums for the education of all – men, women and adults. He aided the poor by endowing low income housing in London and promoting education in the south after the Civil War. He also supported the sciences, exploration and innovation, creating museums of archaeology, natural history, and science. George Peabody’s legacy is recognized both in London and in our City of Peabody with great pride and admiration.

J. Henry Higgins Middle School Mural

On January 16th, 2020, the Peabody Education Foundation revealed our new mural at the J. Henry Higgins Middle School honoring the recipients of our annual George Peabody Legacy Award. The mural recognizes the educators and philanthropists from within our community who have provided a lifetime of contribution to our educational system. The plan will be to add new recipient names to the mural as the years go on. We hope that this new mural serves as a reminder of the dedication and impact that our GPLA recipients have provided to the education and students of Peabody!

2022 Inductees

Eric M. Buckley, Ellen O. Burke, Michalene E. Hague, Judith M. McVann, Mark “Metro” Metropolis , Linda S. Robbins

2021 Inductees

Richard Carey, Judith “Judie” Maniatis, Jean Marie Marchetti, Joanne Pantapas, Don “Raph” Raphael, Jon Simmons

2020 Inductee

Ms. Cara E. Murtagh

2019 Inductees

Carol Isles, Maria Ferri, George Ernest Osborne, Jack Marshall, Jody Pedro

2018 Inductees

Dorothea Kuchinsky, Elaine Metropolis, Louis Surman, Victor Passacantilli, Cynthia Moore, Karen McGovern

2017 Inductees

Lorraine Benoit, Sister Christine Gubisch, Elaine Marshall, June Kessel, Dr. Donna Costa

2016 Inductees

Jan Anderson, David McGeney, Gerald Hallinan, Janyce Harkins
Warren Waugh

2015 Inductees

Edward Sapienza, Phyllis Rantz, Hubert McVann, Maryellen Flynn, Camille Bartlett, Ellen Endslow

2014 Inductees

Margaret Murphy, Joseph O’Malley, Robert Cavanaugh, Andrew Metropolis, Carolyn McGray, Elaine Espindle


2013 Inductees

John E. Murtagh, John “Jack” Murtagh, Helen Apostolides, Frank Hardy, Tom Hosman, James Geanoulis

Photo by Jeff Shmase

Peabody Education Foundation

The Peabody Education Foundation provides unique programs and advanced technology to thousands of students and teachers who might otherwise not enjoy such experiences due to budget constraints.

P.O. Box 233
Peabody, MA 01960