Weekly Feature

2018-10-11 / Education

Cheektowaga educators named master teachers

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the selection of 275 educators from across the state to join the New York State Master Teacher Program, including several from the Cheektowaga school districts.

Roughly 33 percent of the new Master Teachers announced are elementary teachers, expanding the network of outstanding teacher leaders to include kindergarten through 12th grade STEM educators. These educators will join the network of Master Teachers created in 2013, bringing the total number of Master Teachers across New York State to 980.

“Education is the cornerstone to success, and it is the brilliant, dedicated teachers in New York who make a difference in countless lives and inspire the leaders of tomorrow,” said Cuomo. “Congratulations to the 275 newest members of the Master Teacher Program, who will join the ranks of the top educators in the state as they work to further their skills and their impact on students in every corner of this great state.”

Among those new members are Deana Gnorek, Jennifer Lewis, Donna Lillis and Stanley Skotnicki, of Cheektowaga Central School District; Debra Kieliszek of Cleveland Hill Union Free School District; Steven Solazzo, master teacher emeritus, of the Maryvale Union Free School District; and Alfred Wild and Terrilynn Woodhouse of Cheektowaga-Maryvale Union Free School District.

“Teachers dedicate their lives to educating our youth and inspiring them to succeed inside and outside the classroom,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “I congratulate the 275 teachers who will join the New York State Master Teacher program for their invaluable leadership and skills in STEM education. The Master Teacher program continues to expand, recognizing their growth and commitment to educating students in the STEM fields of the future.”

The incoming group of master teachers includes 40 teachers with multiple teaching certifications, 10 teachers certified in special education and/or students with disabilities, and 14 teachers certified in technology education who are offering various courses in computer science and technology.

“I’m delighted to see that New York’s Master Teacher Program has now grown to include teachers who work with our youngest students,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “These teachers lay the groundwork for a lifelong love of science and technology. SUNY is proud to host the Master Teacher Program on our campuses and look forward to the continued partnerships between university faculty and our state’s best STEM educators.”

The 275 master teachers teach science, technology, computer science, robotics, coding, engineering, and math courses.

The selected master teachers have been teaching an average of 15 years. More than 76 percent have been in the classroom for 10 or more years, and 22 percent have been teaching for more than 20 years.

All master teachers are active beyond their classrooms, serving as curriculum department leaders or on district and state-level committees. They are also sponsors of Science Olympiad competitions, school gardens, Robotics teams, coding clubs, community service organizations as well as coaches, and PTA members. The master teachers hold leadership roles in New York State STEM professional associations, and many have received awards and public recognition for their teaching from their peers and communities.

Throughout their four-year participation in the program, master teachers receive a $15,000 stipend annually, engage in peer mentoring and intensive content-oriented professional development opportunities throughout the academic year, work closely with pre-service and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of STEM teachers, and attend required regional cohort meetings, participate in and lead several professional development sessions each year.

Cuomo also announced the opening of the next round of applications for STEM teachers in all regions. Teachers are asked to review the eligibility requirements at www.suny.edu/master teacher. Eligible computer science teachers are encouraged to apply.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 23, 2019. Additional information about the application requirements and process is available at www.suny.edu/master teacher.

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