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The winner for the 2013 Teacher of the Year was chosen immediately prior to the 2013 ABTA Conference, July 30 to August 2, 2013. Congratulations go to David Glandorf for the 2013 win!

The winner was announced at the Teacher of the Year Presentation, on Thursday, August 1, 9:00 am - 10:30 am, by Linda Lee, Master Point Press and Joyce Penn, Chairman, 2012-2013 TOY Committee. All nominees, their family, students and friends were invited to attend the presentation by Linda Lee, Master Point Press and Joyce Penn, Chairman, ABTA Teacher of the Year Committee. It took place at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, GA.

For more information on last year's nominees, please see the biographies below.

Nominees: ABTA/MPP Teacher of the Year 2013

Presenting the nominees for the 2013 ABTA/Master Point Press Teacher of the Year Award.


Lynn Berg from Deland, FLLynn Berg

Lynn Berg of DeLand, Florida has been teaching novices and intermediates for 30+ years almost exclusively with duplicate bridge clubs. She’s known for creating a comfortable and positive environment among her students. Promoting respect and learning Lynn Berg and her students have mastered the mantra of her classes—“You know what happens in about five minutes don’t you? You get to play another hand!”

Berg just celebrated 50 years in the ACBL last year, having served as President of the Education Foundation, Tournament Director and active Board Member for District 9. Lynn is also a Teacher of Teachers; an accredited TAP instructor for ACBL who often participates in ABTA panels and workshops.

She creates newsletters for special events for local papers and for nearby clubs while publishing a monthly column for the ACBL Bulletin. Berg has ‘championed’ the inclusion of information and news about small bridge clubs in the Florida Bridge News in addition to writing the Small Club News for many years.

For intro classes Lynn uses Easybridge One and Bridge in the 21st Century while Kantar’s defense books are for the more advanced defense lesson. Having developed her own material for teaching 2/1, Lynn’s written over 150 short articles for handout on everything from major suit raises to extended Smolen.  

A point of pride for Lynn Berg and her community is the DeLand Club’s reputation for supporting charity. Activities include: raising money for MS, Cancer Society, Hospice on the local level, food banks, humane Society and Journey’s End (a no-kill shelter) supporting at least six different charities each year. The list goes on to include the ACBL’s Junior Fund and Education Foundation. Most importantly the club does not charge fees but instead asks for voluntary donations.

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Rosemary Boden from Fort Lauderdale, FLRosemary Boden

Over 10 years ago, Rosemary began a weekly evening class at the Central New Jersey Bridge Club, in Bridgewater, N.J. With her logical, straightforward manner and superior presentations sprinkled with humor, the class became a quick success. Attendance soared, nearly exceeding the capacity of the club room.

After she moved to Ft Lauderdale, no one was ever able to spark the same level of attendance and eventually the lessons were discontinued. Although it was New Jersey’s loss, it became Florida’s gain. Rosemary went on to a very successful teaching career and became an in-demand cruise teacher on the most desirable ships at sea. Her bridge sessions are so popular on ships that at one point a captain apologized over the ship’s loudspeaker, during noon announcements, for interrupting Rosemary’s bridge session.

She is described by her students as a patient teacher who makes sure her students know that no question is too insignificant to ask. The vice president of the Ft Lauderdale Bridge Club praises Rosemary for attracting many new students and single-handedly raising attendance at their bridge club.

Rosemary publishes a bridge newsletter, has a website entitled “The Rosie Way to Better Bridge,” and has contributed to her unit’s newsletter for several years. She participates in her bridge club’s mentoring program, references many experts in her teaching (Mike Lawrence, Larry Cohen, David Bird) and has compiled many lessons that include titles such as: “Bids You Cannot Live Without, 2/1 Made Simple, Coping With Interference, and Bid Like The Big Boys.”

She’s a member of the ACBL’s Charity Committee, espouses bidding boxes for all students, including beginners, and uses a “cards on the table” approach to teaching bridge.

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Harriette Buckman from University Park, FL

“Extremely knowledgeable, endlessly patient and has an uncanny way of connecting with her students,” states Harriette’s devoted student. Another summarizes her teacher with these facts: “I have learned more in the 6 or 7 lessons from her than from all other combined. Her delivery is fantastic and I love her sense of humor.”

Echoed over and over, this beloved teacher taught her first class in 1962, and then regularly since 1984. Harriette gives group lessons to the Field Club Duplicate Group and complimentary lessons in conjunction with a local club in her Florida area. All of her students are encouraged to attend tournaments in the area and she heartily supports the regional voucher program for novice players.

Harriette worked at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, MI, for thirteen years, helping to move their bridge event from social bridge to mostly duplicate bridge. She has contributed both directing skills and lessons (via silent auction) for Easter Seals, Brittle Bones, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Komen Cancer charities. She acts in a supervisory capacity in the school bridge program in her area and serves on her Unit Board of Directors. A past-president of the American Contract Bridge League, Harriette extends her skills intothe classroom, with many appreciative students.

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Mimi DavidMimi David from Palm Desert,  CA

Although she began playing bridge in her twenties, Mimi had several careers, before teaching bridge: mother, travel writer, real estate sales person, and paralegal. Finally finding her nitch, teaching bridge, Mimi enjoys teaching the subject she loves. “I believe my enthusiasm carries over to most of my students, who are enthralled, fascinated and eager to learn as much as they can about the game,” states Mimi.

With her popular “I Love Bridge” series, Mimi has published manuals for the Beginner/Refresher, Intermediate and Advanced students that she teaches. From the beginning, she introduces her students to opening the bidding and responding with six high card points. After a round or two of bidding, a declarer plays the hand and student learning ensues.

Mimi likes to use the “Opener with Three Partner Exercise,” in which four hands are placed dummy-style on the table and the student selects an opening hand. The student bids with each of the other three hands, as their partner, and an effective learning situation takes place with just one deal.

At the Indian Ridge Country Club and Bighorn Golf Club, in the Palm Desert, California area, Mimi’s students enjoy her non-critical, gentle approach. She welcomes questions and requests for help, teaches proper duplicate etiquette, and is loved by her many students.

She volunteers her time with senior citizens at the Segovia Retirement Community and at the La Quinta Senior Center.

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Laura DelfieldLaura Delfeld from Austin, TX

As a member of her unit board of directors, Laura chaired the novice and education committees for several years. She started an annual mentor program-luncheon and co-chaired the mentor program, pairing novices with more experienced players. Helping to raise $11,000 for an area child in need of a heart transplant are just a few of the outstanding contributions to which this Austin TX bridge teacher has contributed.

Laura is an excellent teacher and much loved by her students. Student comments include the following:

  • An enthusiastic teacher who is able to see humor, in the classroom;
  • Approaches “problems” from many different perspectives and makes everyone in her classroom feel comfortable; and
  • By far, one of the best teachers that I’ve ever had.

She teaches at the Bridge Center of Austin, homes and other facilities, in her area. Holding a mini-lesson each week prior to two games, Laura has increased participation in the three games that she directs, attesting to her teaching and directing skills.

Her unit-level newsletter for novices, entitled the “Future Life Master,” is widely read and is a valuable contribution to bridge education in Austin.  A member of the ACBL Goodwill Committee for several years, Laura has been a featured lecturer at Austin regional tournaments and was awarded the District 16 Texas Star Award, in 2011. She is also an ACBL Star Recruiter.

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Michael DonnellyMichael Donnelly from Fort Lauderdale, FL

A bridge teacher for nearly 20 years, Michael Donnelly is a beloved teacher of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Known for his humor, logic and helpful handouts Michael is able to help students relate and feel less intimidated by the intricacies of advanced play.

Active in organizing student events Donnelly encourages his students to form private supervised play groups at country clubs, private homes and retirement communities. He also plays with a number of his students in sectional and regional tournaments.

A creative teacher for largely senior and first time bridge players, Michael writes customized material for his classes. He covers a variety of topics including balancing, Drury, overcalls, opening leads, Jacoby-Texas, Transfers, Smolen and many more. Successfully published articles in the ACBL’s monthly bulletin, include “Flexible Artificial Bust,”  “Rule of 4” and “Transfers Over Interference.”

Volunteering is also a large part of Michael Donnelly’s bridge teaching experience. Monday through Friday he provides a free thirty-minute bridge lesson year round at his local Boca Raton, Florida bridge club with an attendance of up to fifty players each day. He’s also hosted a charity seminar on competitive bidding with detailed handouts and pre-dealt hands. The event raised over $5000 to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.  Also, Donnelly regularly donated free play days to various charity events in the past.

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John FosterJohn Foster from Sun City Center, FL

Teaching beginners for many years, John realized that all of his students needed opportunities to practice basic concepts and apply guidelines, introduced in class. Blessed with ample senior recreational facilities, John made a card room available several days of each week, for his students. Under supervision, students can practice and gain skills that prepare them for duplicate play.

Using visual displays of exercises from Audrey Grant’s Club series, as well as, a dry-erase white board and transparencies on an overhead projector, students profit from seeing, as well as, hearing. John likes his students to practice “Bid and Tell” before making a bid on any individual hand. The student offers an explanation to the table of the previous call, so that all can consider bidding information transmitted during a hand.

Students praise John for his “boundless patience and endless enthusiasm.” He is an animated teacher whose students absorb his passion and enjoy the learning process. His teaching sessions are “real confidence builders” for students at the Sun City Bridge Center, in Tampa, FL.

With his talents not limited to teaching bridge, John is active in the Pelican Players, a local drama club, and, for several years, has been master of ceremonies for a charity benefit called “The Follies.”  He has won several awards for his poetry, which has been presented to several local groups.

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David GlandorfDavid Glandorf from Houston, TX [WINNER]

Dave was nominated by his many enthusiastic students in Clear Lake, Texas. His classes are offered through the local bridge club, owned and operated by the members. He goes out of his way to make his lessons fun and memorable, with props, skits, sound, stories and lots of action. This keeps his students interested and appeals to different learning styles. He runs games for less experienced players and continues to update his material. He teaches his students to THINK bridge, not to spend a lot of time memorizing. His advice to other teachers is to take yourself to the students’ level while maintaining a sense of humor. Dave has frequently been a guest lecturer for the intermediate/newcomer program at the annual Houston Lone Star Regional Tournament and is a participant in the Unit 174 “Ask A Teacher” program.

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Harvey GoldsteinHarvey Goldstein from San Diego, CA

Mr. Goldstein has been enthusiatically nominated by his San Diego students for the 2013 ABTA-Masterpoint Press Teacher of the Year Award. Harvey stays busy keeping in contact with his students and the players in his classes and games with a weekly newsletter to 650 Bridge players.

Harvey helps his students keep track of special events of special interest to them like Audrey Grant Workshops and local tournaments.  He and his wife get the scores from their games out quickly for their advancing players.

His students are enthusiastic about Harvey's ability to present new concepts in a fun and totally understandable manner.  They have made new friends through Harvey's classes and gotten "hooked" on the best card game in the world.  Harvey has the manner to appeal to both male and female students and to get them participating in local Bridge activities.  Each week his newsletter makes mention of new students/players as well as winners.  We all know how we love to see our names in print and Harvey is good at finding reasons to mention lots of students/players every issue.

Harvey Goldstein is also a community activist helping to raise money for M.S., donating Bridge lessons for various charitable causes and helping organize charity Bridge tournaments for causes like Hurricane Sandy Relief. 

He incorporates material from the ACBL Bulletin, Audrey Grant's Better Bridge Maga-zine and Barbara Seagram's books in his lesson plans.  He has read the "masters" like Eddie Kantar, Marty Bergen and Leslie Shafer to aid in putting together lessons to teach the fundamentals well to his novices.

Harvey Goldstein is a professional Bridge teacher reaching out to make his students feel successful and competent.

Bio provided by Nancy Abbott. 

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Rena Lieberman from North Easton, MA

Rena Lieberman

 Rena’s classes attract even the shyest as she builds confidence in her students, offering meticulously prepared material with each class building on the one before, helping students master their skill sets in bridge. Rena updates her notes frequently. If a student has given up the game, Rena draws them back as she teaches them that bridge is for everybody. Over 150 of her students played in the last NABC held in Boston.

Rena states: “Bridge is a difficult game that can be intimidating and overwhelming. I try and infuse some humor and lightness in the lesson-part of my classes. Questions are encouraged and answered, no matter how simple they may be.”  She has no “agenda” for when a particular topic is handled, moving at her students’ pace.

Rena has a commitment to her community and supports the Brain Aneurism Society, the Bone Marrow Society, and The Endless Closet, a group that works to provide good quality clothing to women in need. She has been involved in an anti-bullying group, long before bullying became a notorious public issue.  You’ll find her frequently giving lessons at her local sectional tournaments before and in-between sessions, as she gives back to her unit. She always plays in local “Pro-Am” games and helps her students achieve good results, bestowing generous praise.

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Megan PowellMeagan Powell from West Orange, NJ

 Having taught bridge for 10 years, Meagan belongs to the teaching staff of the Essex Bridge Center, in Livingston, New Jersey. Her specialty is beginners and low intermediate players. “I derive a lot of satisfaction in helping beginning players – who are often very accomplished in their own fields – take on the challenge of bridge. It’s often humbling for them but I try to remind them that it’s a journey and they should allow themselves to just go for the ride.”

Meagan is a dedicated teacher specializing in beginning duplicate play,  advanced beginners and low intermediates. She teaches supplemental workshops, usually on weekends. Meagan participates in the organization, as well as, playing as a mentor, in a mentor recruitment matching program. She encourages her students to get practice-play for tournaments by playing in their club’s STaC tournaments and higher-level games.

Although she doesn’t teach on the internet, she would like to help her club expand their business utilizing video technology and standard technology to supplement teaching programs. Her main goal is to help players become club-playing duplicate-style players with other students and friends.

Her students appreciate that Meagan “fosters an atmosphere of learning, camaraderie, consideration for others and a deep love of bridge.” They have nominated her as an outstand teacher. She helped raise over $1,000 for the New Jersey Hurrican Relief Fund and created a charity game to support rare cancer research at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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Kathy RolfeKathy Rolfe from Greenwood, MO

Teacher to both adults and youth Kathy dedicates much of her time developing useful material to teach her classes. Speaker a the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics she explained the important and benefits of teaching bridge to youths. She encourages playing bridge to her students through puzzles and games, offering scholarships to winning pairs in their spring sectional tournament. She offers ‘Monday Minglers’ group where students who have at least taken Bridge Basics 1 can find an opportunity to practice in a safe environment.

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Richard Rothwarf from Philadelphia, PARichard Rothwart

A “grand slam of a teacher” with extraordinary skills is how one student describes her nominated candidate: Richard Rothwarf, from Philadelphia, PA. Not only is he a nationally ranked player but he is a winner of numerous bridge tournaments. He answers complex bridge questions with ease, offers instant examples of hands that visually reinforce what he is explaining, and meets his students with easily understandable explanations.

 Structuring his lessons to his students, Rich strives to show the same level of attention and respect to all. He is always able to find something encouraging to say, makes it safe for his students to err, and responds to all requests with courtesy.

A long time member of the Philadelphia Unit 141 Board of Directors, Rich has served in many capacities. He is responsible for improving bridge in his area and frequently gives lectures at tournaments. The team coach for many area leavues, Rich is also chairman of the conduct and ethics committee and unit recorder. Enthusiastically endorsed by his unit, Rich is a major asset to bridge.

Another student’s comments: “He is a BRILLIANT teacher - clear, concise logic, able to talk right at the level of sophistication appropriate to his  students' current level, patient to the nth degree, and always ready with a concrete example of a hand that underscores the concept he is trying to teach.  He is the living definition of a ‘born teacher’. There are no words to describe the esteem in which I hold this man. I promise you there are none better.

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