FOCRLS Recognizes Distinctive CRLS Faculty Members

FOCRLS Recognizes Distinctive CRLS Faculty Members
Posted on 09/26/2023
Friends of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (FOCRLS), a nonprofit that supports opportunities for students, alumni, and staff of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (CRLS), is recognizing four teachers for their dedication to students. This is the 17th year FOCRLS has sponsored the Faculty Distinction Awards, and the 2023 recipients bring the total since 2007 to 68 awardees.

Members of the CRLS Class of 2023 nominated teachers, guidance counselors, and other staff members for having remarkably positive influences over their high school years. FOCRLS produced framed certificates, which Principal Damon Smith presented at the graduation ceremony on June 8 to these beloved educators:

Ms. Natasha Labaze, who has been an English teacher at CRLS since 2001, earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Tufts University. Students describe Ms. Labaze as “an extremely thorough, thoughtful and, most of all, caring person” who “brightens up my day every single time I walk into her classroom.” One student wrote, “Ms.Labaze helped me believe in myself. She helped me realize I was smart and I was capable of many things.”

Mr. Tony Porreca, who has taught at CRLS for 14 years, is a special education teacher within the English and history departments. He is known for being supportive, collaborative, and dedicated. He has a caring approach to working with and relating to his students as well as their families. By having compassion for all learners and developing authentic relationships with his students, he helps them rise to high expectations.

Mr. Drew Kreuser has been an English teacher at CRLS for nine years. He holds a graduate degree from
Lesley University in special education as well as three degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison: a graduate degree in curriculum & instruction/literacy and undergraduate degrees in history and secondary English education. He works closely with his teaching team to create an inclusive community where all students' voices are heard and he works to provide relevant and engaging content to honor student voice and choice.

Ms. Rickteyzia Simmons has been an educator at CRLS for six years. In addition to teaching world history, she has created and taught her own course, History of Fashion, utilizing her bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising from Lasell University. Rickteyzia, who recognizes the transformative impact a good teacher can have on a student's educational experience, devotes her time at CRLS to fostering meaningful connections with her students.

Congratulations and thank you to these teachers for making substantial contributions to the social development and academic success of CRLS students!

In 2023, FOCRLS also presented over $90,000 in higher education scholarships, provided financial assistance for nine students to participate in a school trip to Puerto Rico, and granted $9,000 to faculty members with creative ideas to enhance curriculum, clubs, and services. FOCRLS is a 501c3 nonprofit. For more information about programs, donating, sponsoring, or volunteering, please visit

CRLS Faculty Members
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