Outstanding Teachers of the Month for November 2002
The Outstanding Teachers of the Month for November 2002 have
each been nominated by their colleagues, students, parents, principals
and superintendents. Education Update has selected six nominees
for their outstanding work on the “frontiers” of education.
Congratulations to this month’s Outstanding Teachers of the Month
in recognition of the vital role they play in our childrens’ lives.
Brown de Vial
Lower Manhattan Outreach Center
Elizabeth McCullough, Principal
Linda Brown de Vial is a sixth year science teacher at the Lower
Manhattan Outreach Center, an Alternative High School program
which serves students between 17 and 21 years of age who have
experienced interruptions in their academic careers resulting
in their transfer from their home schools.
When asked, “Why science?” Linda’s articulation testifies to her
sense of wonder and passion about the natural world.
rewards of immersing oneself in science are more durable, comforting
and confounding than maybe all other human endeavors. I came to
science because I love animals and because, when I’m really low,
the immensity, grandeur and even the indifference of nature takes
me away from myself and my petty concerns.”
In addition to her dedication, sense of purpose and warmth, Ms.
Brown de Vial is the quintessential team player. There is not
a single task that she is above or a hurdle that she will not
attempt to overcome. She touches the lives of students and staff
as well as an assortment of classroom animals–lab rats, crayfish,
snakes, turtles and one disoriented bat that found its way into
her room one night through an open window.
P.S. 241, Brooklyn
Derek T. Jones, Principal
Gordon-Powell was born into a family of leaders. Her father was
Dean of Journalism in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and her mother managed
the parts department of a car dealership. Mrs. Gordon-Powell pushes
her students to the limit, believing that their comportment and
academics must be of the highest standard. The welcome on her
classroom door reads, “Welcome to Class 3-415 where only dignified
behavior is acceptable.”
Mrs. Gordon-Powell gets excited when her students score the highest
level on annual citywide reading and mathematics examinations
and goes the extra mile to prepare students for the tests, holding
practice sessions at 7:30 a.m. in the months before the exams.
Last year, sixteen of her students scored the level 4 on the CTB
Mrs. Gordon-Powell is an active participant in the life of PS
241. She works hard and long and is willing to extend her workday
whenever she is called upon to do so. As a teacher, she exhibits
the highest standards in the profession.
PS 86, Bronx
Sheldon Benardo, Principal
Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Reyes was a mother of two, a hairdresser
and a vocal advocate for her community. She was encouraged to
attend college, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Lehman College
in 1992. At this time, she was working as a bilingual paraprofessional.
In 1993 she took a position as a third grade bilingual teacher.
Immediately, Ms. Reyes impressed the families and her colleagues.
She immersed herself in learning methodology, which enabled her
to be on the cutting edge of curriculum development. She enrolled
in graduate school and quickly earned a Masters in Bilingual Education.
Over the next few years, lines of parents would arrive at the
school in August demanding that Ms. Reyes be their child’s teacher.
Her reputation grew not only in the community but also in the
school. Teachers sought her out for advice and her classroom became
a laboratory for teachers throughout the district to visit.
Several years ago she became a Staff Developer, meaning no more
class but the responsibility to teach teachers. Ms. Reyes’s early
morning study groups became hotbeds of learning and discussion
and parents soon joined the groups. However, Ms. Reyes believed
that the opportunity to affect children’s lives lay in being a
classroom teacher and asked to return to her previous assignment–an
unheard of request in the New York City system! This past summer
Ms. Reyes participated in BETLA, a statewide initiative for exemplary
teachers that investigates best practices for English Language
Learners. Her return to the classroom has been more than successful
and once again this August dozens of parents pleaded for a seat
in Laura Reyes’s classroom.
I.S. 78, Brooklyn
John DiFiore, Principal
Ms. Cundari has been a dedicated teacher of mathematics at Roy
H. Mann I.S. 78 since September 7, 1999. During this time she
has consistently demonstrated an outstanding devotion to her students
and to her school.
Due to her eager and conscientious nature, she has been an integral
part of coordinating and supervising such events as her school’s
Buddy Program and Open House. Thanks to Ms. Cundari’s outstanding
organizational skills and excellent rapport with her supervisors
and colleagues, both these programs have become more and more
successful each year.
Ms. Cundari has demonstrated an outstanding devotion to her students
and to her school.
P.S. 140, Queens
Elaine Brittenum, Principal
Maggie Martin is the Teacher of the Month at P.S. 140. She is
a dedicated Title 1 teacher and an asset to her school. She has
teaching talent, ambition, energy and initiative. More than cooperative
when assigned extra activities, Mrs. Martin frequently volunteers
to cover teacher’s classes when an emergency arises. She shows
a sincere interest in her students and is constantly searching
for innovative ways to make her teaching of reading interesting
and more informative.
Mrs. Martin loves responsibility and thus wears many hats, such
as: chairperson of the Finance and Operations Team, chairperson
of the Career Day committee, chairperson of the School Safety
committee, member of the School Leadership team, member of the
District Leadership team and chapter leader of the United Federation
Far from creating tension with school leadership, Principal Brittenum
praises Mrs. Martin’s work with the UFT, saying, “With her as
a partner in education, we succeed at P.S. 140Q.”
PS 250, Brooklyn
James Quail, Principal
Ms. Harlene Schwartz is an English as a Second Language teacher
at PS 250. She gives freely of her time and talents for the children
in her school, working feverishly to make each child feel important
and successful. Over the past years, standardized test scores
and measures of academic growth in E.S.L. have been impressive,
serving to substantiate Ms. Schwartz’s knowledge, skills and talent.
Ms. Schwartz also coordinates a staff development program at her
school. The fact that she gives up her weekends to attend conferences
that she recommends to others serves to prove that real professionals
lead by example. In summary, Ms Schwartz possesses all the characteristics
of an exceptional teacher.#
Update honors teachers each month for their outstanding work on
the “frontiers” of education. Students, parents, principals, superintendents
and colleagues may nominate teachers by describing, in one or
two paragraphs, what is “special” about them. In June, we will
invite the teachers, principals and superintendents to a luncheon
to celebrate their achievements. Please include
a photograph with each nomination.
Teachers are the backbone of our educational system. They
richly deserve the recognition that Education Update plans to
Dr. Pola Rosen
Please email recommendations, with photographs, to: email@example.com,
or mail to:
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New York, NY 10001
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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