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September 14, 2021
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JP O'Hare

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Cuba-Rushford Central School District Agriculture Teacher Named 2022 New York State Teacher of the Year

SUNY Buffalo Student Receives 2021 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship

The Board of Regents today named Carly Santangelo of Cuba-Rushford Central School District the 2022 New York State Teacher of the Year and awarded the 2021 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship to Jamimaleson Alexander, a graduate student in the Rehabilitation Counseling program at The State University of New York at Buffalo. 

2022 Teacher of the Year

Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. and State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa presented Mrs. Santangelo, who currently teaches agriculture to middle and high school students at Cuba-Rushford Central School, with a certificate of recognition. Mrs. Santangelo also received the Thomas Sobol Award created by former Commissioner Sobol and the Tony Lofrumento Award, created by Regent Tilles and supported by Commissioner Rosa.

“New York’s teachers are critical to the success of students in every corner of our state,” Chancellor Young said.  “The outstanding group of nominees represent what makes this profession so special and are well deserving of this honor. The Board and I extend our most sincere gratitude and recognition to Mrs. Santangelo and each of this year’s nominees for all they do on behalf of New York’s students.”

“To achieve the level of sustained engagement among New York’s students over the past year and a half wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of our state’s exceptional teachers,” Commissioner Rosa said. “Taking a moment to honor New York’s top teachers is important as we strive to highlight the significant and noble work that they do each and every day.  Congratulations to this year’s nominees and Mrs. Santangelo, our 2022 Teacher of the Year.”

“Being an educator requires strong resilience in the face of challenges, and Carly exemplifies the resilience that NYSUT members show each and every day in their classrooms,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “She represents the very best qualities that educators across the state possess: Dedication, mastery of her craft, a sincere belief in the success of the entire school community and the resilience that has been so crucial, especially in the last year and a half. We’re proud to call Carly a NYSUT member.”

“Carly’s ability to meet students where they are when they arrive in her classroom and then help them accomplish what she knows they are able to is inspiring,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said. “She provides the tools and skills necessary for success but also recognizes the power of trial and error as part of the learning process. What’s more, her understanding of the importance of learning from her students — her drive to be a better teacher based on their feedback — speaks volumes to her selfless attitude and dedication to creating a welcoming learning environment in which every student can achieve their best.”

An active 4-H and Future Farmers of America member, Mrs. Santangelo studied agriculture in high school. Always passionate about sharing her knowledge with others, she went on to complete her Master of Arts in Teaching with dual certification in agriculture and biology at Cornell University.

Mrs. Santangelo engages students, colleagues and the community by connecting academic content to life-long skills through school-wide, hands-on projects. She actively pursues opportunities to expand the walls of her classroom through grants, field trips, community connections and guest speakers. She believes in service learning and works alongside her students to give back to the community in and outside of school.

Prior to teaching at Cuba-Rushford, Mrs. Santangelo taught at the Belmont Career and Technical Center, first in Animal Science and then as the integrated academic science teacher. She continues to teach informally as a volunteer with Allegany County 4-H.

In the coming year, Mrs. Santangelo will serve as an ambassador for teachers throughout the state and will be the New York State nominee for the National Teacher of the Year.

Finalists for the 2022 New York State Teacher of the Year were also honored today. They are as follows:

  • Amber Chandler, an 8th grade ELA teacher at Frontier Middle School, Frontier Central School District;
  • Jeanne Lance, a 4th grade teacher at Watervliet Elementary School, Watervliet City School District;
  • Heather McCutcheon, a Visual Arts educator at Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School, Herkimer Central School District; and 
  • Lynn Sajdak, a Special Education teacher focusing on Life Skills and Workforce Development at Hamburg High School, Hamburg Central School District.

The New York State Teacher of the Year Program is administered by the New York State Education Department and sponsored by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT); United Federation of Teachers (UFT); New York State Parents and Teachers Association (NYSPTA); New York State Association for School Curriculum Development (NYSASCD); New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA); School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS); New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE); and New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NYACTE). The program is run in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Additional information about the New York State Teacher of the Year Program is available on the Teacher of the Year website.

2021 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship

The Board of Regents today awarded the 2021 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship to Jamimaleson Alexander, a graduate student in the Rehabilitation Counseling program at The State University of New York at Buffalo.

“Jamimaleson Alexander’s commitment to his community and empowering those around him make him truly deserving of the Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship,” Chancellor Young said. “We are honored to present him with this award as he continues to work toward his laudable professional goals.”

“Mr. Alexander’s dedication to helping students with disabilities is commendable and a testament to what Marge Tierney stood for,” Commissioner Rosa said. “I am confident that we will continue to see many great things from Jamimaleson in the future.”

Jamimaleson Alexander is a graduate student in rehabilitation counseling with a 3.9 GPA.  His work experiences include special education teacher, client care specialist for a homeless shelter and care manager for a center working with individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities. Mr. Alexander is committed to sharing his knowledge about disability services and empowering others to take charge of their lives and function as full partners in the rehabilitation process.  

This scholarship was established in memory of Marge A. Tierney, a State Education Department employee whose career in vocational rehabilitation spanned 33 years.  Marge was a leader in the field of rehabilitation and a strong advocate for people with disabilities. She dedicated her career to the development of quality services aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Under Marge’s leadership as the Director of District Office Administration from 1999-2003, over 63,000 individuals with disabilities were placed in jobs. To honor Marge’s achievements and dedication, one student is selected each year to receive a scholarship to help defray the costs of tuition, books and other college-related expenses. Recipients of the Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship Award receive a citation and $1,000.

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