LI instructors shine as NY’s newest Master Teachers

Best of the best: Half Hollow Hills Central School District instructors (from left) Mitchell Troise, Amanda Kavner, KimMarie Lennon, Zoe Chiam and Christopher Regini are among New York State's newest Master Teachers.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

More than two dozen Long Island educators have been welcomed into the ranks of the New York State Master Teacher Program.

The professional-development and networking community, which promotes and celebrates the work of high-performing STEM teachers (for science, technology, engineering and math), added some 228 new members in September, including 27 teachers from Long Island-based school districts.

Through participation in the Master Teacher Program, each competitively selected teacher receives a $60,000 award, broken into four annual stipends of $15,000.

One-third of the new Master Teachers are elementary teachers and 27 percent are teachers in “high-needs school districts,” according to the State University of New York, which launched the program in 2013 in partnership with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and the national nonprofit Math For America.

Including this year’s appointees, the NYS Master Teacher Program now boasts more than 1,200 members, all focused on co-creating, co-facilitating and co-designing innovative curriculum for their math and science students. Cuomo dubbed them “brilliant and dedicated teachers who have made an incredible, lasting impact on New York’s future leaders.”

“These 228 new members of the Master Teacher Program will join the ranks of the state’s top educators, a group who strive every day to enrich and expand the horizons of countless students in every corner of the Empire State,” the governor said in a statement.

Patrick Harrigan: Lasting benefits.

Of the 27 Long Island-based instructors welcomed this year, five are from the Half Hollow Hills Central School District, the most from any single Island district. Half Hollow Hills Superintendent of Schools Patrick Harrigan said the honor would pay lasting dividends not only for the five selected teachers, but for the Dix Hills-based district as a whole.

“We are so excited to have five of our teachers be selected for the Master Teacher Program, representing our elementary, middle and high schools,” the superintendent added. “We look forward to the many new ideas and programs they will bring back to share with our students and faculty.”

With two honorees apiece, the William Floyd, Uniondale and Three Village school districts were the only other Long Island districts with multiple Master Teacher inductees this round.

Long Island-based teachers named to the state’s Master Teacher ranks last month include:

  • Danielle Bottachiari, Lindenhurst Union Free School District
  • Josephine Bruno, Herricks Union Free School District
  • Zoe Chiam, Half Hollow Hills Central School District
  • Evan Curran, Miller Place Union Free School District
  • Kimberly Dwyer, Syosset Central School District
  • Alyssa Greco, Islip Union Free School District
  • Eric Gustafson, Three Village Central School District
  • Brian Haldenwang, West Islip Union Free School District
  • Victoria Hernandez, William Floyd Union Free School District
  • Amanda Kavner, Half Hollow Hills Central School District
  • Melissa Kempton, Uniondale Union Free School District
  • KimMarie Lennon, Half Hollow Hills Central School District
  • Karyn Libretto, Northport-East Northport Union Free School District
  • Jeanne Lotito, Westhampton Beach Union Free School District
  • Renee MacDermott, Baldwin Union Free School District,
  • Kathleen Maiorini, Hauppauge Union Free School District
  • Sheila Mauriello, Cold Spring Harbor Central School District
  • Christopher Regini, Half Hollow Hills Central School District
  • James Scannell, Oceanside Union Free School District
  • Andrew Schlendorf, Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District
  • Lisa Smith, Uniondale Union Free School District
  • Nina Smith, Eastport-South Manor Central School District
  • Anya Swiss, William Floyd Union Free School District
  • Mitchel Troise Sr., Half Hollow Hills Central School District
  • Jessica Ullrich, Brentwood Union Free School District
  • Gina Varacchi, Three Village Central School District
  • Kimberly Williams, Smithtown Central School District

Kathy Hochul: Proven leaders.

Of the 228 new Master Teachers, 18 are certified in Technology Education – covering a wide range of instructional fields including computer science, robotics, drone design, computer-assisted manufacturing and more – and 14 boast multiple teaching certifications.

Another four are certified special-education teachers and/or certified to work with students with disabilities, according to SUNY.

Regardless of his or her individual credentials, each of the 228 new masters possesses “invaluable leadership and skills in STEM education,” according to Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“Teachers dedicate their lives to educating our youth and inspiring them to succeed inside and outside the classroom,” Hochul added. “The Master Teachers program continues to expand, recognizing professionals’ growth and commitment to educating students in the fields of the future.”