Wand-Polak Awards 2021: Changing the future through education


“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm S. Forbes

What can change the future? Education. And who leads the way in educating? Teachers.

The annual Beatrice Wand-Polak Awards recognise the dedication, work and ability of ORT teachers.

The awards highlight those throughout our international network who have been instrumental in improving ORT programs by creating educational materials, developing new teaching methods or improving educational technologies.

It was established by former ORT Latin America director Bernard Wand-Polak in memory of his wife, Beatrice. She was a former president of the Chicago Region of Women’s American ORT and assisted her husband in building a network of excellent technical high schools throughout Latin America.

Six teachers from Argentina, Bulgaria, Brazil, France, Ukraine and Israel have been selected for the 2021 award for their excellence in educating students.

Winners of the 2021 Beatrice Wand-Polak Award include:

Susana García Nani, ORT Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Susana García Nani (pictured) is a Geography teacher and has been working at ORT Argentina for more than 30 years, teaching more than 500 students a year.

At the ORT Belgrano campus, Susana promoted the United Nations Model – an educational experience where students can deepen their knowledge of geopolitics while developing their debating and oratory skills. For many years she was also coach of teams representing the school in external competitions – helping to promote ORT Argentina widely throughout the country and continent.

Susana was one of the pioneer teachers who designed and implemented didactic technology units in the Social Sciences department – producing new materials for other teachers.

Susana’s expertise with these tools included her holding a key role in ensuring online learning was possible during the pandemic. She taught 20 courses virtually, with a total number of 600 students attending, as well as sharing her teaching strategies with other colleagues.


Susana García Nani, teaching at ORT Belgrano.


Gergana Georgieva, ORT No. 134 “Dimcho Debelianov” Jewish School, Bulgaria

Gergana Georgieva is a passionate and dedicated member of Sofia’s ORT school. She has helped students to develop their ability and to see the magic of chemistry in their daily lives. With a great contribution to applying high technology in the educational process, she is also a long-time mentor in the World ORT Taub Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP).

Her ability to teach a fascinating science discipline such as chemistry contributes significantly to the establishment, promotion and prestige of the school’s STEM study track. She is also one of the faces of the school, appearing on national television screens to provide knowledge for all Bulgarian students in the subject area during the pandemic.

Gergana was also nominated for the ORT Teacher of the Year Award 2021 by one of her students, Deyan. In the nomination he wrote: “Mrs. Georgieva has been working so hard – she is so dedicated and caring. She is always there, engaging in our lives, helping us and inspiring us to take action that will help us in life.”

World ORT congratulates all the 2021 Beatrice Wand-Polak Award winners for their work in their schools and for preparing students for a better future thanks to excellent educational standards.

Beatrice Wand-Polak winners 2021:

Susana García Nani, ORT Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Gergana Georgieva, ORT No. 134 “Dimcho Debelianov” Jewish School, Bulgaria

Rosangela Bastos, Escola ORT, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Jean Wolff, Lycée ORT, Strasbourg, France

Anatolii Vasyliuk, Educational Complex ORT-Simha, Kiev, Ukraine

Kmahya Nov, World ORT Kadima Mada, Israel