Making History: Honoring
Outstanding Teachers in New York City Public Schools to Become
The Department of Education, as
the Board of Education is now known, is over 100 years old.
During that time, the pendulum has swung from centralization
to decentralization and back, from teaching reading via phonics
to the whole word approach and now back to phonics again,
from bilingual education to immersion and back. Reform movements
have abounded, thrived and died. Underlying all the rhetoric,
the steadfast image of the teacher has remained undiminished.
And the preparation of fine, solid educators has been the
cornerstone of our children’s
success. Yet, no one has ever celebrated or honored outstanding
teachers until Education Update decided to do so. Recommended
by principals, superintendents and colleagues, 42 teachers
appeared throughout the year in the pages of the award-winning
monthly culminating in a ceremony at the Harvard Club on June
Teachers were proudly accompanied
by their supervisors and family members. Mrs. Lee came from
the furthest point, Hawaii, placing fresh leis on her son’s shoulders. All five boroughs
were represented across all grade levels. Dr. Pola Rosen, founder
and publisher of Education Update, and a teacher, supervisor
and college professor for many years, shared the fulfillment
of her dream to honor these “wonderful teachers who serve
as inspirations and guides to knowledge, remembered forever
by the young people whose lives they’ve touched.” Adam
Sugerman, associate editor of Education Update, placed a ribboned
gold medal over the heads of the teachers as they were called
up to receive their certificates by the sponsors of the event.
Education Update is grateful to the following sponsors who
made the event possible: Citibank, Maureen Nipar, Exec. VP;
Con Edison, Luther Tai, Senior VP of Central Services; Council
of School Supervisors and Administrators, Jill Levy, President;
The Everett Foundation, Edith Everett, VP; McGraw-Hill, Dr.
Charlotte K. Frank, Sr. VP; Reading Reform Foundation, Sandra
Priest Rose, Founder, Trustee of Lincoln Center for the Performing
Arts and Trustee of the NY Public Library; Assemblyman Steven
Sanders, Chair, Education Committee, NYS Assembly; Laurie Tisch
Sussman; Time Warner Cable, Harriet Novet, VP, Public Affairs.
President Jennifer Raab of Hunter College gave welcoming comments
recalling with fondness her days in the public schools of New
York before going on to Princeton and Harvard Law School. The
keynote address was delivered by Regent Merryl Tisch who emphasized
the importance of excellent teacher preparation and leadership
in our schools today. Special guest Schools Chancellor Joel
I. Klein was delighted to share this special day with the teachers,
principals and families, awarding several of the certificates
and personally congratulating the recipients.
One of the high points of the program
was the concert by student violinists from public schools
(and Opus 118), taught and conducted by honoree Roberta Guaspari
(Meryl Streep starred in the movie about Roberta’s
life recently). The young violinists, demonstrating a range
of styles and techniques from blues to Bach, from pizzicato
to legato, received a standing ovation.
Rosen, recalled the words of teacher
Christa McAuliffe who died on a space shuttle, “I touch
the future; I teach.”
To see a video clip of the event covered
by Pauline Liu of Channel 11 (WPIX News), click here.