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Teachers of the Month


















New York City
November 2002

The 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.

Linda 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.

“The 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.

Ena Gordon-Powell
P.S. 241, Brooklyn
Derek T. Jones, Principal

Ena 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 Mathematics.

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.

Laura Reyes
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.

Dina Cundari
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.

Maggie Martin
P.S. 140, Queens
Elaine Brittenum, Principal

Mrs. 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 of Teachers.

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.”

Harlene Schwartz
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.#

Education 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 give them.

Dr. Pola Rosen

Please email recommendations, with photographs, to: ednews1@aol.com, or mail to:
Education Update
276 5th Ave. Suite 1005,
New York, NY 10001

City: State:

Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2002.