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September 13, 2022
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Announces Manhattan High School Chemistry Teacher Named 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year

Two Educators, Museum Curator Receive 2022 Yavner Teaching Awards for Holocaust, Human Rights Education

CUNY Hunter College Student Receives 2022 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship

The Board of Regents today named William Harris Green, Jr., a chemistry teacher at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in Manhattan, as the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year. Also, during today’s meeting, the Board honored two teachers and a Holocaust Museum curator with Yavner Awards and awarded the 2022 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship to a graduate student.

2023 Teacher of the Year

In his role as Teacher of the Year, William “Billy” Green will serve as an ambassador for teachers across the state and as the New York State nominee for National Teacher of the Year. Green is a high school chemistry teacher at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE) Geographic District #6 in Manhattan.

Chancellor Young said, “Student success is at the core of everything Mr. Green does, from his thoughtful and engaging lessons to helping meet the diverse needs of students and families beyond the classroom. He understands that for young people to flourish, they need to feel involved, appreciated, and valued. Many of his students likely see themselves in him, and Mr. Green is a dynamic and caring role model. The Board and I extend our sincere gratitude and congratulations to Mr. Green and each of this year’s nominees for all they do on behalf of New York’s students.”

Commissioner Rosa said, “Billy Green found his calling in the classroom, something I saw firsthand when I visited him with his students. He ignites a spark in them, imparting a love for life-long learning and inspiring them to take charge of their personal and academic responsibilities. We recognize Mr. Green today and the tens of thousands of New York State teachers who dedicate themselves to this noble work each day. Congratulations to this year’s nominees and Mr. Green, our 2023 Teacher of the Year.”

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said, “Above all, Billy’s tenacity for connecting with his students and doing everything in his power to set them up for success is what inspires me most about his work. It’s the same tenacity and commitment to students I see every day from NYSUT members across the state. We’re incredibly proud of the mark Billy is leaving on his community and congratulate him on all of his success.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “Teacher of the Year Billy Green makes a difference in his students’ lives. Once children are in his class, they are in his class for life. He will be a powerful voice for our students, our profession, and our public schools. Thank you, Billy, for putting the spotlight where it belongs - on the magic that takes place in our classrooms.”

NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said, “Billy’s dedication to connecting with his students and community through culturally responsive teaching and project-based learning exemplifies how 21st Century teachers have honed their craft to meet the needs of diverse students in a changing world. His commitment to learning from his students and creating a collaborative environment in which he doesn’t just teach, but guides them in their own learning is inspiring to see.”

Mr. Green takes pride in making students feel respected and involved, allowing them to “co-create” lessons, and giving them the encouragement they need to feel motivated. By connecting academic content to hands-on activities, he helps students understand the real-world applications of the chemistry being taught in the classroom.

Before teaching at A. Philip Randolph High School, Mr. Green taught at the East River Academy and Frederick Douglass Academy III. Mr. Green has also done extensive work in LGBTQ+ advocacy, serving as a Program Director for “SCAN-NY,” working toward creating and implementing support programs for LGBTQ+ youth and continuing this advocacy through a gay-straight alliance club at his current school.

The Board also honored finalists for 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year today. They are:

  • Zachary Arenz, a Music teacher at Flower City School #54, Rochester City School District;
  • Lori Atkinson, a 9-12th grade English teacher at Copenhagen Central School, Copenhagen Central School District;
  • Andi Cammer, a K-6 reading teacher focusing on Life Skills and Workforce Development at Jefferson Central School, Jefferson Central School District; and
  • Vanessa Jackson, a Health teacher at Plainview Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, Plainview Old Bethpage 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 NYSED’s Teacher of the Year website.

2022 Yavner Teaching Awards

The Board of Regents today presented Louis E. Yavner Teaching Awards commemorating outstanding contributions in teaching about the Holocaust and other human rights violations to Salamanca City Central School District teachers Brooke Canale and Brandy Kinney, co-winners of the award for teachers, and to Holocaust teacher and museum curator Julie Golding for the citizen’s award. The Board of Regents established the Yavner Teaching Award to honor the late Regent Emeritus Louis E. Yavner of New York City, who served on the Board from 1975-1981.

“Recent incidents of antisemitism and racism exemplify the continuing and critical need for the work these educators have dedicated themselves to,” said the Chancellor. “They understand the power history can have on our future and illustrate for our young people the importance of standing up and speaking out against hatred and injustice. I am honored to present the 2022 Yavner Awards to Mrs. Kinney, Mrs. Canale, and Mrs. Golding.”

“Using real-life accounts and artifacts, these women open a window to the past for students to support learning and civic readiness,” said Commissioner Rosa. “They are leaders and mentors to their colleagues and have developed lessons that stay with students well beyond their school years, helping them to become adults engaged in the world around them.”

Brandy Kinney has spearheaded several enrichment programs that support student learning and civic development. She has taught literature studies on the History of Antisemitism and a special topics class on Human Rights Violations. For six years, she has served as Student Council Co-Advisor and helped create a teacher mentoring program in the district.

Brooke Canale served as the international advisor for International Travel and Student Government clubs. In 2019, she co-outlined the Human Rights Violations Elective, which encourages students to explore human rights issues in the modern world, such as the Holocaust, Sudan, Rwanda, and Cambodia genocides.

Julie Golding organized the public burial of ashes of Holocaust victims who were murdered at the Chelmno Death Camp that were given to the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern by a local Holocaust survivor. In response to the brutal attack at a local Monsey synagogue on Hanukkah 2019, the Museum is introducing a new program designed to combat antisemitism through education. The program is geared toward middle and high school-aged, public-school students. Julie produced a classroom lesson and accompanying video for this program.

2022 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship

The Board of Regents today awarded the 2022 Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship to Taishon Graham, a graduate student, from New York, NY, in the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program at Hunter College, The City University of New York.

Chancellor Young said, “Taishon Graham’s dedication to his education and helping other young people makes him an exceptional recipient of the Marge A. Tierney Memorial Scholarship. We are honored to present him with this award as he continues to work toward admirable future goals.”

Commissioner Rosa said, “This award recognizes a graduate student who articulates a vision for vocational rehabilitation and demonstrates a commitment to realizing that vision. Mr. Graham’s dedication to helping students with disabilities is commendable and a testament to what Marge Tierney stood for. I am confident that we will continue to see many great things from Taishon in the future.”

Taishon Graham is a graduate student in rehabilitation counseling with a 3.9 GPA.  He has worked as an associate teacher managing behaviors of students on the autism spectrum, helping develop behavioral plans and progress reports, and teaching independent living skills to students with disabilities. Graham 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 is awarded in memory of Marge A. Tierney, a State Education Department employee whose career in vocational rehabilitation spanned more than three decades. She dedicated her career to developing quality services to enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities. One student is selected each year to receive this scholarship that may be used to help defray the costs of tuition, books, or other college-related expenses.

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