11th Annual Azalea Awards

The 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!

Arts Leader

Someone who contributes to a dynamic arts community

Yvonne Edwards

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

Busy Graham

Busy combines superhuman energy with a commitment to bringing music and dance to Takoma Park and surrounding areas.

Victoria Gau

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

Joel Snyder

Joel 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.

Business Leader

A person or organization that promotes progressive spirit through local commerce

Eric Hardy

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

Antonio Castillo

Antonio teaches dance in local schools and at his own Takoma Break Dancing School.

​Nok Kim

As owner of Silver Spring’s Rainbow Laundromat, Nok combines business with community service with “while-you-wash” tutoring.

Danny Wells

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


Keeps sports vibrant and accessible

Brian Baker

Brian coaches soccer and cross country at Takoma Park Middle School in addition to running the popular Ski Club.

Mike Fisher

Mike moved mountains to create a winter recreational basketball league for 7th-grade girls.

Mary Beth Hastings and Howard Wilkins

MaryBeth and Howard can coach soccer girls into soccer women to rule the world.

Michele Rovins and Kate McDuffie

Michele and Kate coach the girls on their team in self-confidence as well as in soccer.

Helen Shepherd

Helen 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.


School staffer who makes a difference

Holly Pasquale

Holly is an instrumental music teacher at Takoma Park Middle School and maestro extraordinaire. She 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

Lynne shows up with compassion and kindness wherever she is needed at Takoma Park Elementary School—classroom, lunchroom, or playground—to make a difference for her students.

Krishni Patrick

Krishni Patrick brings her enthusiasm for math, science, and technology to every child at Piney Branch Elementary.

Samir Paul

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.

Green Activist

Turns environmental ideals into achievements

Lori Hill and John Robinette

Lori and John produce entertaining videos to educate people about environmental practices, which they also model in their everyday activities.

Paul Chrostowski

Paul 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 Marth and Paul Marth

Rita and Paul transformed an overgrown city-owned lot from an eyesore into a neighborhood garden spot.


Someone who inspires children to aim high

Abby Golden

Abby is Takoma Park Elementary’s beloved guidance counselor, who makes every child in the school feel special while meeting their emotional—and, often, physical—needs.

Jennifer Manguera

Jennifer leads her Girl Scout Troop 1273 in myriad community service activities, in addition to selling cookies.

Carmen Martinez

In her role as Takoma Park Middle School counselor, Carmen is friendly, approachable, and engages with students and their families to support their success.

Neighborhood Volunteer

Someone who “walks the walk” to improve their neighborhood

Margaret Buraimoh

Margaret has risen to the forefront of tenant rights and affordable housing reform in her own Hampshire Towers community and throughout Takoma Park.

Tim Haverland

The unofficial “mayor” of his East Silver Spring neighborhood, Tim lends his talents to many worthy causes.

Denise Jones

Denise mentors children and parents in her Essex House community and serves on the tenants’ association board.

Keith Kozloff

Keith is active on many different fronts—from community involvement through CHEER, to preserving and cleaning up the McLaughlin woods, to green energy.

Jane Welna

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

School Activist

A parent who brings the best to our schools

Ray Moreno

As PTSA president at Montgomery Blair High School, Ray has worked to promote student achievement and community involvement.

Vanesa Pinto

Vanessa conducts Spanish literacy and other parent education and empowerment programs at New Hampshire Estates and other local elementary schools.

Amy Wajda

Year in, year out, Amy spends countless hours volunteering at events and working behind the scenes for the Takoma Park Elementary PTA.

Ellen Zavian

Ellen focuses on cybersafety, security, “digital citizenship,” and other technology issues at Piney Branch Elementary and across the county.

Special Award

For extraordinary service to Takoma Park

Katya Partan

Katya was presented with an Azalea award for her years of service to the community and contribution to schools and PTAs.


A civic leader who inspires others by example

Cindy Dyballa

Cindy 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

Lichelle is a model of generous, optimistic leadership in her Pinecrest neighborhood, the kind that makes Takoma Park a special place to live.

Lorraine Pearsall

Lorraine helps protect the integrity of Montgomery County’s largest historic district and the greater community.

Charlotte Schoenemann

In addition to her work on various other fronts, Charlotte heads up the Go Mom Go community of single moms.

Takoma Spirit

Reflects local character with panache

Tara Egan and Gene Herman

Tara and Gene became unlikely partners a year ago to rescue Takoma Park’s iconic July 4th parade.

Colleen DiPaul

Colleen organizes weekly intergenerational game nights as well as one-time intergenerational play events.

Doris Duarte

With her work on summer lunch-and-learn programs, city committees, and Lifelong Takoma, Doris exemplifies what one active citizen can do to help many.

Mary Ryan

Mary Ann is the founder and director of Takoma Porch, which brings local musicians to Old Town front porches for a multi-stage music festival.