2009 Winners

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KATHERINE COOPER

Biology, Science Research, Biomedical Ethics, Anatomy-Physiology, Advanced Topics

Townsend Harris High School

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MICHAEL HOLMES

Honors Chemistry, Honors Biology, Film

High School of American Studies at Lehman College (HSAS)

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MICHAEL P. KLIMETZ

Earth Science, Physics, AP Physics, Material Science, Geology

John Dewey High School

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RICHARD LEE

Biology, AP Biology, Research

Bronx High School of Science

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FREDRICK NELSON

Integrated Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus

Wings Academy

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HOMER PANTELOGLOU

Honors Living Environment, Marine Biology, AP Biology, Introduction to Business

High School of Economics and Finance

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NICOLA VITALE

Physics, Algebra, Environmental Science, Thinking Math & Science

Banana Kelly High School

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Click here to download the 2009 Brochure.

Click on the photo to find out more about this year's winners.

KATHERINE COOPER

Biology, Science Research, Biomedical Ethics, Anatomy-Physiology, Advanced Topics
Townsend Harris High School

The daughter of parents who came to the U.S. to escape communism, Katherine Cooper's passion for science was ignited by her study of dance, which led to enduring interest in the human body.

Mrs. Cooper began her teaching career at Townsend Harris High School after graduating from Fordham and NYU with science and education degrees respectively, and over the last six years has made important contributions to the school. She has designed Biomedical Ethics and Anatomy-Physiology courses, mentored students who have won Intel Science Awards, and established the Townsend Harris Science Olympiad Club, which has won numerous championships.

Employing an approach that allows students to conduct their own research and draw their own conclusions, Mrs. Cooper excels at guiding and engaging. "She's not just a teacher or even a mentor – she deals with us as adolescents and burgeoning scholars," said one student.

MICHAEL HOLMES

Honors Chemistry, Honors Biology, Film
High School of American Studies at Lehman College (HSAS)

Growing up on a farm in North Carolina, Michael Holmes' interest in science had an explosive start when he began experimenting with chemical reactions and explosive devices, among other things.

Armed with chemistry degrees from North Carolina Central University, Mr. Holmes started as a researcher at a variety of prominent institutions before turning his attention – and making significant contributions – to teaching.
Using innovative techniques, he empowers students to discover concepts on their own, and creates a sense of intrigue in the classroom that appeals to different learning styles. Many students comment that Mr. Holmes keeps after them "until they get it," and that he loves to illustrate how scientific thinking can be translated to other disciplines.

Not surprisingly, one student who said she didn't like chemistry when she entered Mr. Holmes' class is now planning to be a pre-med major in college.

MICHAEL P. KLIMETZ

Earth Science, Physics, AP Physics, Material Science, Geology
John Dewey High School

Michael Klimetz says that from his father, a civil engineer, he imbibed a respect for measurement and quantitative analysis.

Like his father, Mr. Klimetz went to City College, and then entered a doctoral program at SUNY Albany and Rutgers. After challenging conventional wisdom on Southeast Asian plate tectonics – research that derailed a university career but that was eventually validated – he responded to an ad and ended up at John Dewey, where he has been teaching for the last 14 years.

His award-winning students consistently mention his resource-rich web site, eight tons of rock specimens, and 45,000 scientific volumes. Colleagues praise the time he spends preparing hands-on experiments, how hard he works to adjust his methods of explanation, and his focus on creating a comfortable environment where students can learn and exercise critical inquiry.

A former student summarized it best when he stated that Mr. Klimetz "observes, listens, and answers every student."

RICHARD LEE

Biology, AP Biology, Research
Bronx High School of Science

A graduate of Bronx Science, Richard Lee's passion for science continued while attending City College and Columbia University. Although he had a brief stint as a rock station DJ, he eventually joined Bronx Science and has been teaching there for 20 years.

Mr. Lee is known for his success rate at the Intel Science Talent Search--70 of his students have been semifinalists, seven were finalists and two were Top 10 winners.
Students and colleagues say his core strengths include sympathy for struggling students, individual attention, total engagement, and inductive teaching. They also acknowledge his success in adjusting to a new generation of learners, and note that his devotion can be seen in the countless weekends and holidays he spends helping students.

A colleague best summarized Mr. Lee by stating that he "Eats, sleeps, and breathes the students at Bronx Science."

FREDRICK NELSON

Integrated Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus
Wings Academy

Raised in Jamaica, Fredrick Nelson credits his mother with teaching the determination, hard work, and self-sacrifice that he put to use while earning degrees from the University of the West Indies and City College.

Mr. Nelson came to Wings Academy six years ago and immediately began imparting his vision: mathematics is a language, and to speak it makes understanding technology and successful careers possible. Famous for detailed, careful preparation, he always aims to help students realize that they can solve problems themselves. These "eureka moments" create confidence, empower students, and build student-teacher loyalty – inspiring joy and engagement.

Infectious enthusiasm and confidence-building, with careful attention to skill-development, continually impacts Mr. Nelson's students.

"He has a great way of helping us understand," says one student. "After taking his class, I want to be a math professor."

HOMER PANTELOGLOU

Honors Living Environment, Marine Biology, AP Biology, Introduction to Business
High School of Economics and Finance

The son of Greek immigrants, Homer Panteloglou was the first member of his family to go to college. At Hofstra, he developed a passion for both biology and teaching. Despite being discouraged from pursuing a teaching career because he is legally blind, Mr. Panteloglou has had incredible success in the classroom for the last 10 years.

"Mr. P" is a master at creating an environment where students are free to ask questions, addressing obstacles that prevent learning, and patiently pushing unmotivated students.

Students comment on his creativity in terms of reaching every student, while colleagues note his development of Honors and AP courses, and a popular tutoring program called "Bagels and Biology."

"Out of 13 years of school, no teacher has done so much for me. I never thought an adult could care so much, and I wanted to perform well because of him," commented a former student."

NICOLA VITALE

Physics, Algebra, Environmental Science, Thinking Math & Science
Banana Kelly High School

Coming from a family of teachers and overcoming a childhood learning disability, Nicola Vitale gravitated toward hands-on learning and applied mathematics.

After graduating from SUNY Albany, and working as a stage carpenter, he started teaching at Banana Kelly. While earning a masters degree, he began to rethink how science should be taught and implemented his new approach at Banana Kelly.

Ten years later, and still at Banana Kelly, Mr. Vitale is regarded as a teacher of teachers. He's frequently praised by peers for his ability to strip concepts to fundamental levels, foster creativity and curiosity, and transform the mathematical study from right and wrong to concepts and logic.

Collaborating on a mathematics literacy program for underserved populations, a City College professor noted the rarity of "teachers who combine Nic's knowledge of the subject, knowledge about students, and commitment to teaching."

 
 

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