2012 Winners

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Dave Griffin

Chemistry, AP Chemistry

Collegiate Institute for Math and Science

Profile and Video »

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Naoual Eljastimi

Chemistry, AP Chemistry

Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences

Profile and Video »

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Eyal Wallenberg

College Math Prep, AP Microeconomics

Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice

Profile and Video »

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Neal Lutchme Singh

Earth Science, Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts

Profile and Video »

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C. Anthony Finney

Living Environment, College Now

Flushing International High School

Profile and Video »

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Cameron H. Cassidy

Geometry, Pre-Algebra, Robotics

Gotham Professional Arts Academy

Profile and Video »

Michelle Persaud

Living Environment, Earth Science, Forensic Science, Bio-Med Tech, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Research Methods, Psychology

Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers

Profile and Video »

Dave Griffin

Chemistry, AP Chemistry
Collegiate Institute for Math and Science

In Dave Griffin's chemistry class every day is a chemical adventure.  One day, Mr. Griffin is cooking pancakes, serving up breakfast to illustrate the difference between chemical and physical change.   On another, students learn about the power of oxidation watching an M&M explode when dropped into a heated oxygen environment.  Unflappable, calm, and patient,  Mr. Griffin's easy style and imaginative lessons have struck a chord with his students. "His classes are magical," one colleague raves.  When he took over teaching AP Chemistry, he dropped the course's prerequisites, opening the course to anyone with an interest and desire to learn. As far as Mr. Griffin is concerned, science is for everyone.

Naoual Eljastimi

Chemistry, AP Chemistry
Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences

If you think chemistry is a dry subject, you'd do well to spend a day in Naoul Eljastimi's Chemistry class. Lessons are brimming with visuals, hands-on demonstrations, interactive assignments, a strategy designed to appeal to high performing students and to those struggling with learning disabilities. "Students beg to be put into her class," a class advisor admits. Ms. Eljastimi is a tireless advocate for bringing the love of science to the entire student body, founding the Chemistry Bowl and Science Olympiad, and overseeing the student-produced "Science Corner" in the school newspaper.  "She's a wizard," says one student. "I was unsure what I wanted to study, but after Ms. Eljastimi's class I know I want to study science."

Eyal Wallenberg

College Math Prep, AP Microeconomics
Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice

Brooklyn's Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice focuses on delivering a first-class education. Though half the students enter school reading below grade level, the vast majority graduate on time and go to college. This tradition of excellence is no better epitomized than by Eyal Wallenberg. In his class, the rote mastery of formulas has been abandoned in favor of a unique blend of collaborative problem-solving, critical thinking and student-driven discovery. Wallenberg also created the school's first course in microeconomics. Last spring 21 of 22 students passed the AP Microeconomics Exam. Those are numbers you don't have to be a math teacher to love.

Neal Lutchme Singh

Earth Science, Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts

LaGuardia High School is a premiere art school and science was a hard sell. In 2007, when Neal Singh joined the faculty, LaGuardia offered only one section of AP Environmental Science.  Mr. Singh completely redesigned the curriculum. Outside speakers are a regular fixture in his classes, with appearances by conservationists, environmental lawyers, filmmakers, and nutritionists.  Emphasis is placed on the relevance of science to issues of social justice like pollution and access to water. Mr. Singh's methods have been nothing less than miraculous.  Five years later, there are now six sections of AP Environmental Science with a waitlist to get in that is 200 students long.  Says his assistant principal, "Neal is the epitome of what every science educator should be."

C. Anthony Finney

Living Environment, College Now
Flushing International High School

Flushing International is an English immersion school serving immigrants. Anthony Finney's gift is merging first-class science instruction with a talent for using science to teach English.  Students are not just learning botany, they are mastering a new vocabulary through scientific discovery.  Roots absorb.  Stems transport.  Flowers attract.  Work is carried out in teams composed of students of different ethnicities – Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Ethiopian – requiring students to solve problems together in English.  He's a passionate advocate for science, creating the school's science club, initiating the school's first science fair, and partnering with a local DNA lab.  Says his principal,  "His accomplishments have been extraordinary." 

Cameron H. Cassidy

Geometry, Pre-Algebra, Robotics
Gotham Professional Arts Academy

At Gotham Professional Arts Academy, a small alternative high school in Brooklyn, Cameron Cassidy uses a host of innovative approaches to introduce his students to complicated mathematical concepts.  Algebra students learn to balance the sides of an equation by first working with actual scales, a new robotics course has students learning how to communicate with robots using the universal language of math, and he's pioneered an imaginative collaboration with the Whitney Museum that shows students how mathematical concepts are expressed in art.  Mr. Cassidy's success with his students has made him the go-to coach at Gotham for new members of the math faculty.  As one of his students attests, "He makes it easy to learn."

Michelle Persaud

Living Environment, Earth Science, Forensic Science, Bio-Med Tech, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Research Methods, Psychology
Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers

Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers has over 2,000 students, many of whom travel more than two hours a day to get to school.  "This is a tough student body, and it takes an especially talented teacher to fire student curiosity," says one faculty member. A wellspring of innovation, Ms. Persaud is constantly crafting new courses-- Anatomy & Physiology, Biomedical Technology, Psychology and Forensic Science. "Her classes made me want to go to college to study science, and maybe go to medical school", says a current junior.  A teachers' teacher, Ms. Persaud has spearheaded curriculum reform at Bergtraum, successfully leading a schoolwide effort to rewrite syllabi across all areas of instruction. "Michelle is the most impressive teacher I have ever seen," notes one colleague.

 
 

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